Live Review: Of Monsters and Men – Outside Lands

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The fog rolled in through Golden Gate Park like a cliché in some horror movie. The masses huddled together as the air grew from crisp to damp to downright freezing, but they were undaunted. This crowd wanted to see some beautiful music and Of Monsters and Men provided that. The Sutro stage was teeming as they were already 15 minutes late. The crowd was getting antsy and needed to let some energy loose to save them from the bone chilling cold that ran down the spines of the uninitiated or uninformed Golden Gate Park dwellers.

After some issues with the roadies trying to fix microphones and other technical operations Monsters came to the stage and smiled, in that jolly Icelandic way, at this San Franciscan crowd bursting at the seams to see them. This crowd, estimated to be around 200,000 with at least a quarter of that at the Sutro stage, was here to see Of Monsters and Men coming out party. Already this has been a break-through year for them with their brilliant debut album, My Head is an Animal, running through the US like a wild fire.

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They began with “Love, Love, Love”, played a new song that sounded brilliant and ended the set with their hit single “Little Talks”. What they did in between was rally upwards of 50,000 people into a dancing frenzy, a crowd that knew every lyric of every song (minus the new one). These people wanted something amazing and they got it personified with a group that doesn’t fit into the mold of what a rock group is supposed to look or sound like. Accordions, trumpets, seven members in tow and an almost uncomfortable brilliance that set them apart from any other act on day one.

These are the moments in the life of a band when you realize they’ve made it. This was Of Monsters and Men’s moment and they capitalized on it. The sheer amount of people rivaled what was happening at the Polo Field stage as Beck rolled through covers of Friday closer Neil Young’s “Helpless” and Bob Dylan’s “Leopard Skin Pillbox Hat”. Ah, but as they say in “Little Talks”, “We used to play outside when we were young and full of life and full of love.” On this cold Friday in the middle of August, Of Monsters and Men were shown the love of an adoring San Francisco audience and will someday look back on this moment in their career and realize just how full of love and life they really were.

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