Having spent the majority of my time at SXSW indoors checking out new bands, I was elated to head to Stubbs BBQ's outdoor area to catch the new band Of Monsters and Men. Having never been there, I had no idea what I was getting into, but was pleased to get the immediate festival vibe mixed with a very professional sound quality, which hasn't always been my experience in outdoor spaces. Even though it was packed, making my way upfront wasn’t as difficult as I originally suspected. Fortunately, the pathway was still at a point where my many years of frogger playing came in handy and I was at the stage before I knew it.
During the band's soundcheck, I was able to gauge the audience and realize that there were a large number of fans there specifically for the sextet. The Icelandic band had only recently been brought to my attention, but the timing couldn’t have been better since they have a new album coming out April 3. Right from the start, I was blown away by how cohesive and precise they were. They weren’t intimidated by the crowd size. Their stage presence showed the comfort and familiarity of a veteran band.
One of the perks of being a photographer is getting to be in the pit right in front of the stage and having the ability to notice little things within the band that may go unnoticed to the crowd who are just several feet back. In the case of this set, I was able to glimpse several smiles between the bands members in a knowing approval that they were "on" tonight. It also demonstrated how happy they were while performing.
Fans had the opportunity to hear some new songs off their upcoming album, My Head Is An Animal as well as crowd favorite "Little Talks" and, what seems to be another hit, "Love, Love, Love" off their forthcoming album. The overall performance was a standout of the evening as these talented musicians encompassed the whole crowd in their powerful orchestral indie-folk sound. This band easily falls into the same category as Mumford and Sons, and Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros. I can see these guys playing large stadiums/venues with ease, as well as being a great act to have at any upcoming festival, especially at that key sunset hour time slot. This is a band I look forward to see and hearing a lot from. They are currently on tour and if you happen to be in one of the cities that hasn’t sold out yet, I would definitely get your act together fast and grab a ticket. And for those of you that missed this time around, have no fear. The new release will be here sooner then you know it is sure to tide you over till the next round of shows.