writer_Neto Light Potography_Logitech UE
Since the release of their acclaimed debut LP My Head is An Animal, Icelandic ‘indie’ folk darlings Of Monsters and Men have been catapulted into the spotlight hitting the US top ten (first Icelandic band to do so). I’m sure it was with this in mind that audio giants Logitech selected Of Monsters and Men to promote their latest range, with a not- so- secret gig (the audience comprising mainly ecstatic competition winners) at Shoreditch’s premier music venue, Village Underground.
Arriving a little before things got underway, gave us the opportunity to appreciate the pretty damn impressive visuals the hosts had assembled resplendent with moody blue lightning halfway between Soho brothel and chic club. The scene set, real life Dalston superstars Spector kicked proceedings off hurtling through their brief yet already impressive catalogue of anthemic pop rock including Chevy Thunder and What you Wanted. Frontman Fred Macpherson and co were firing on all cylinders despite an initially lukewarm reaction from the crowd. They paused only brieflybetween songs to offer the occasional flippant remark, including one about sponsors Logitech, before plunging into lead single Celestine. It wasn’t long before the crowd had warmed to Spector’s glossy guitar riffs & stadium rock hooks that draw as much from the Killers as from Garage Rock heroes, The Strokes. Indeed, by the time set closer Never Fade Away was underway, the majority of the crowd had succumbed to their charms. So despite the fact that it felt at times the group were only playing to a select few fans at the front of the hall, the band’s infectious melodies and onstage buoyancy and exuberance eventually permeated to the audience resulting in a genuinely enjoyable experience, loosening up the crowd perfectly for headliners Of Monsters and Men.
From the opening strains of Dirty Paws the audience were captivated by the magic of Nanna Hilmarsdóttir’s & Ragnar Þórhallsson’s songwriting, made all the more special by the fine array of talented musicians supporting them. Taking the audience on a musical journey through the mountains and barren expanses of Icelandic folklore, both Nanna and Ragnar fed off the audience’s energy relaying it back to them through their heartfelt musicianship. This was none more apparent on Mountain Sound with the sextet’s crisp and threadbare sound filling and engaging the warehouse space; really highlighting the power of great songwriting when combined with traditional folk harmonies. The gig served to showcase the group’s honest, almost naïve approach to music, devoid of the frill, abstraction and tedium of contemporaries like Arcade Fire and Mumford & Sons, instead supplementing the music with soaring crescendos and rousing singalongs that struck a chord with the east London audience, confirming their meteoric rise to fame and headline status.