So last Tuesday I had the absolutely exciting opportunity to go to a “Of Monsters And Men” concert. Actually it was a birthday present for a friend – I invited her to go since we’re both into this sort of music – indie rock and folk rock – and they happen to be on a “shooting star”-like course in the scene.
For those of you who don’t know “Of Monsters and Men” (OMAM) – maybe you’ve already heard of their most known single “Little Talks” and this would be the band behind it – and if you didn’t, well let me tell you that they’re a group of 6 amazing musicians from Iceland. Founded 2010 they have released one album so far, namely “My Head Is an Animal” last September.
So, as I said, I went to watch them on stage last Tuesday with my friend. I’d already been super-excited that day and the previous day and the day before the previous day… you get it. Ironically though, as excited and giddy as we were – we weren’t able to sing along. To practically no song – which is rather a no-go for a concert. I think we were both just too busy, too caught up in other things this summer that we never bothered to learn them so that one day before the concert – in between studying for exams and working on our final paper – we were in quite a frenzy to cram the lyrics into our heads. Looking back, it seems really pathetic to me now. I could have as well just let it be – to get twelve, rather complex (in comparison with some of the charts/pop songs nowadays) written lyrics in under 24 hours is hardly able to accomplish for the average (wo)man.
We made it up though by appearing extra early for the concert. We read on the internet that it was sold out and decided to come a few hours early (even missing out a bit of school) to get the best places – preferably at the utmost front! Stupidly we forgot that it was a weekday and that most of the concert attendants wouldn’t come before an hour before door opening due to their jobs. So we ended up being the only ones there… for quite a few hours. Luckily we bought something to eat so we could pass the time. Also the door was partly open and we could hear them during their sound check – which only increased our excitement.
At about 6 pm the first other concert attendants came and then the whole rush at about 7.30 pm. And again luck was with us because when the crew set the queuing zone we were already there (standing at a very convenient place) and we ended up indeed at the very front! At about 8.45 pm it finally started. We on the front actually got to stand right under the handrail which later turned out to be very convenient for my photographic needs. The whole concert took place at Abart, Zürich a music club of middle size with a quite small stage but which also allows high intimacy and interaction with the audience.
The show started with supporting act Lay Low, a musician from Iceland as well. She played us about 6 songs which I would categorise into alternative country and folk. I actually liked her quite a lot – she was very friendly, modest and energetic. (The way she plays her guitar and slams her boots on the ground – intimidating and fascinating alike.)
Then, after a long break, came the long-awaited “Of Monsters and Men” accurately on 10 pm. As you see from the set list photo above they started with their second most famous song “Dirty Paws” – and already enthused the whole crowd. People left and right from us were dancing and I was trying to record the show but it was hard not to give in to the shaking and swaying of the bodies around me. (In the end I gave in though and as a result all my records are slightly blurry now.) It went on with “From Finner” to “Love, Love, Love” to “Lakehouse” and finally the long-awaited “Little Talks”, which everyone, even we, were able to sing. And it was a fantastic feeling too, because the whole crowd was pressed into this tiny space and the band on this tiny stage and everyone was singing with their loudest voice and everyone was swaying and shaking and jumping up and down. It’s always in moments like these that I get this feeling of infinity; a certainty that this moment will stay forever in my memory and a wave of euphoria rushing over me as I give in to the music, give up my body, my soul and just obey rhythm and melody for that one song…
Needless to say now that “Of Monsters and Men” are fantastic to watch and hear live. They are completely worth it, if not only for the charisma of the two lead singers (Nanna and Ragnar) and the passion of the drum player Arnar (he plays so crazy, so passionate – it’s thrilling to watch).
After an hour it was already over. As an encore they presented my favourite song “Sloom” and “Yellow Light” and stopped on schedule at 11:10 pm to release the euphoric audience into the night, full of music fever, of heat and passion and especially a feeling of complete satisfaction.
Well maybe I’m a crook
for stealing your heart away
and maybe I’m a crook
for not caring for it.
And maybe I’m a bad, bad, bad, bad person
Well baby, I know
And these fingertips
will never run through your skin
and those bright blue eyes
can only meet mine
across a room, filled with people
that are less important than you
All cause you love, love, love
when you know I can’t love.
You love, love, love
when you know I can’t love.
You love, love, love
when you know I can’t love, you.
So I think it’s best
we both forget
before we dwell on it.
The way you held me so tight
all through the night,
till it was near morning.
Love, Love, Love – Of Monsters and Men
J as in joyous. J as in Julian. Julian Perretta. And best of all J as in James. James Blunt.
These two names, the exact combination of these two names and persons, to me, pretty much sum up what it takes for an amazing night. And what I experienced yesterday night was exactly this: the James Blunt concert in Zürich with Julian Perretta as the supporting act.
Two days before I, so exited to go, started to listen to James Blunt-songs non-stop. It just seemed so unreal. A few months ago a friend & me decided to go to this concert the moment the first single of his new album was released. We were totally exited; finally a day that stood out from all the boring school days; finally something to look forward to. (And to make it even better my friend paid my ticket for me as my birthday and Christmas present – thanks again!)
So during our train ride there we were discussing which songs he’d play, which songs he should play and with which he starts (our guess: Stay The Night). Arriving at the Hallenstadion (the concert was sold out!) we fought our way through the crowd and sat down on our seats (Little did I know that our seats meant sitting in the mommy-section…), eagerly awaiting our man of the day.
About 8 it started. The amount of people attending this concert was gigantic, especially the crowd (or rather women, haha) in the standing room in front of the stage was impressive. Then Julian Perretta appeared. Until that day I haven’t heard of him before, I just found out that he’s already a chart breaker in France. But the instant I heard his British accent, I melt down. So cute! And he’s got a great singing voice as well, really. His music’s awesome too; a mix between pop and soul (and rock?). An example (and my favourite):
At about half a 8:35 or so he finished – and left with a lot of new fans (including me). Our beloved James meanwhile let us wait about half an hour. Then a man appeared on the stage; you could only see the silhouette, playing guitar. Strangely on the two screens one could see James Blunt personally walking through a door… until I realized that he wasn’t the man on the stage but really, truly was making his way through the crowd in that moment! Oh, how we envied the ones standing down there (and 2 friends of us did, so mean.)
And then when he jumped onto the stage, I finally realized that I was really there and everything happening in that very moment – the screaming, the clapping & cheering, the first chords of So Far Gone – was absolutely true.
I can’t tell you the right order of the songs he played nor how brilliant he was – because he was super-duper brilliant (Does anyone use that expression?), really. He started with So Far Gone, went on to Billy and just jumped from one album to another, which I liked very much. He brought so many good songs and live it sounded even better. He was in such a good mood, that I, already in a good mood, was in “best mood” – I swear after 5 songs my cheek hurt so much from smiling all the time. And he’s just so cute, how he’s that happy to be one stage and he seems to wonder why we were able to sing to so many of his songs… especially Goodbye My Lover: As you see in the video below “we” were singing pretty loud (at about 3:55):
This song was, for me, just the best one; not only that it’s one of my favourites but also his slip of the tongue (“I’m addicted to m…you.”) and – have you seen him blinking his eyes when the whole crowd sang? I’d so much like to believe that this blinking was because of the tears he had to blink back. (That’d be so cute.)
My friend and me, we sang to practically every song along – he just played all the right ones. It just could go on like that forever but sadly everything comes to an end and he finished his set with I’ll Be Your Man. At that point we were so disappointed – I mean, he hasn’t played Stay The Night yet! And 1973 somehow wasn’t played as well. He just couldn’t leave like that, could he? And he came back. First with a rather slow song (don’t know its name) and then, finally, the chords to Stay The Night. By then everyone had stood up and clapped and sang along; it felt just so, so great, being there and watching & listening to him with all those people around you.
The very last song he played was 1973, well-chosen I think, because of the nostalgia and such. But what I’ll remember for the future won’t be 1973 but 2011.
Afterwards we were so happy and in such a good mood, hell, I felt like in heaven. And when I came home I could see the stars in the sky above – the indication for a perfect night. Which it was, for me. Really, truly was.
You ask us to stay the night, James? We’ll do. Over and over again.