I went to see Of Monsters and Men in concert at Merriweather Post Pavilion last night with my friends Lindsey and Laura. First I would like to thank Mother Nature for giving us a beautiful night sandwiched in between the crazy storms of Monday and the equally crazy storms being predicted for tonight. I’ve done the concert in the rain (and hail!) thing at Merriweather before and it’s not something I particularly care to do again. We had lawn seats, and it was still rather muddy in some spots from the previous day’s rain, but we found a spot that wasn’t too horrible to sit in. I wore flip flops though so my feet were absolutely disgusting from walking around the lawn to get to it. All in all it was a great night weather wise though.
I had never heard of the first opening band, Half Moon Run before but I quite enjoyed them. They’re an up-and-coming Canadian band who I do expect to hear more from in the next few years. They have a really mellow kind of electronic sounding rock vibe going on. Some of their songs had some really great drum tracks going on in them that I really enjoyed. I’ll definitely be listening to more of them in the future. I always like it when opening acts I’ve never heard of wind up being bands I want to hear more from.
The second opening act was HAIM. One thing I learned last night is that I have been pronouncing their name wrong in my head. I don’t know that I had ever heard anyone say their name out loud before they did at the concert last night. Turns out it is not pronounced Haim as in Corey Haim, which is how I was saying it. Instead it is pronounced Hi-Em. The band is made of three sisters, whose last name is Haim, plus a non-related drummer. I had heard a lot of buzz about them in the past year, and listened to their EP on Spotify a few times, but hadn’t really spent a lot of time investigating this band. I also know they have opened for a lot of other bands I really like over the last year, so I should have realized that I would like them a lot. I will definitely look forward to getting a full length album from them at some point. It was a apparently was a big night for percussion in the opening acts at this show as HAIM was also really into drums. I will say this is the first time I have ever seen the lead singer of a band play the guitar and a drum simultaneously. Ok, well not really simultaneously as that would be fairly impossible, but in alternating fashion during the same song I guess. She had one drum set off to her side and held one drum stick to beat on it in between playing the guitar. All 4 members of the band played the drums at some point, and their set ended with what essentially was a drum line of all four of them just playing the drums. The one bad thing about their set was that one of the singers mics was not set up properly. It was feeding into the speakers inside the pavilion, but not to the ones out on the lawn. It wasn’t that noticeable while she was just singing backup, but when she took over solo or was just trying to talk to the audience between songs we couldn’t really hear her. Luckily that wasn’t very often. Again I look forward to seeing and hearing more from HAIM in the future.
This was the third time I’ve seen Of Monsters and Men perform live in the past year or so. I saw them for the first time at the Fillmore, a little club in Silver Spring, Maryland. Then I saw them at The Newport Folk Festival last summer. As their venues have gotten bigger I have gotten farther away from them. At the Fillmore I was pretty much right up by the stage. They played a second tier festival stage at Newport, so it still wasn’t that big. At Merriweather, especially with my preference for lawn tickets there, they were significantly far away from where I was. Despite the increasing size of their venues, they still put on a good performance and get the audience involved in the show. Not every band that has a good command of the audience in a small space can translate that well once they move into bigger venues. The production values of their performance have definitely gone way up since I first saw them last April, but they were still good about getting the audience into singing and clapping along not just letting the fancy new lighting and set designs do the work for them. You can definitely tell they are more well known now and that they know it. The first two times I saw them, they coached the audience with the chorus lyrics to “Mountain Sound” and had us sing along with them as kind of a call and response. That didn’t happen at this show, and it didn’t need to as that song has now had plenty of radio play as the second single off their album. As they are still working off of that single album, they played it in its entirety along with a couple of new songs and one cover. They still put on a great show, and I will happily see them in concert again, but think I’ll wait until they have some new music out before I pay to see them again.
Here’s a video of them playing Little Talks at last night’s show that someone threw up on YouTube.