By: Paula Tesoriero
Concert date: 05/30/12
There’s a lot to be said about a band that strolls in from the streets of Tempe past a vast line of fans a mere hour before their show starts. But I’ll save that for later. Last night’s show at the Marquee Theater contained a crowd composed of a good mix of young and old; I even spotted a young girl of about 8. The opening band, Yellow Ostrich, began their set with the song WHALE, introducing the audience to the complex looping used in most of their music. During their first few songs, the members of this group seemed to be holding back a bit. There was a great amount of tense energy that kept the audience craving more. However, as the show progressed they began loosening up more and that pent up aggression-type passion began releasing. They ended their set by performing the liveliest rendition of The Shakedown. At the end of it, lead singer and guitarist Alex Schaaf played his guitar in desperation to release as much sound and energy as possible. Their set was only enhanced by the addition of brass and Alex’s quirky comments to the audience. I later asked Alex to supply this review with a statement of whatever might come to mind right away. His reply? “Sweaty beauty.”
After a surprisingly short wait, the lead act Of Monsters and Men graced the stage with waves and smiles. They began with a spirited performance of Dirty Paws, reeling the audience in with their talent and wonderfully unfamiliar accents. This Icelandic band brought as much as they could to the stage, even in the intense heat so unlike their native home. A few of the members took off their shoes at the beginning, providing a very comfortable vibe to those of us appreciating such a gesture. The two lead singers, Nanna Hilmarsdóttir and Ragnar þórhallsson, armed with their acoustic guitars and compatible voices held nothing back during their show. I believe their drummer gave their set its great intensity. This man enticed the audience to clap and sing along, and from start to finish he did nothing but give himself to bringing his drums and the audience to life in the most passionate way. The band performed a unique and worthy cover of Close To Me by The Cure. Another interesting factor brought to the stage was the use of an accordion, and the fact that it changed hands about 3 times throughout. The audience danced and sang along to Little Talks, the last song before they left. The crowd, however, was not ready for them to depart so soon. After about 5 minutes of cacophony, the band reappeared. Their encore set included a new song, and they ended the entire show with a song titled Yellow Light, which also happens to be their last song on the album. They told the audience that it was a slower song but that did not stop us all from clapping when possible and shouting our love during it. Of Monsters and Men left the stage for the last time, but also left some of themselves in our heads, as we left the venue humming select songs from the evening.
I obtained a brief interview with Nanna after the show. I asked how they enjoyed playing in Arizona and she said that because it hadn’t sold out, they were all a little bit unsure of how it would turn out, but in the end the crowd was very welcoming and they had a great time. I asked if they would consider coming back and she said of course. In the end the concert was one about which those who attended should jot down a few notes. It isn’t often a show of its class takes place in a venue as small as the Marquee.
Photos by Joshua Tesoriero