A few weeks ago, I ventured up to Merriweather to see a band that I’ve been obsessed with since My Head is an Animal came out in April 2012 – Of Monsters and Men. I’ve had horrible luck with their DC shows, being out of town for their previous gigs at the Black Cat, Fillmore, and 9:30 Club. Over the course of the past year and a half, their fame has grown and now they are deservedly headlining amphitheaters like Merriweather. I don’t know what their smaller gig shows were like, but they certainly have the energy to fill an amphitheater and put on a great show.
I scored VIP passes courtesy of the 9:30 Club’s Friends with Benefits rewards program, so I got to enjoy a delicious Spanish pulled pork sandwich from Jose Andres’ fabulous food truck Pepe while waiting for the opening bands to hit the stage (nom). When Half Moon Run came on, I ventured out of the comfort of the VIP lounge to find my seats, which turned out to be the best I’ve ever had at Merriweather – second row, center, right behind the pit. This was going to be a good night. I can’t say that I have any strong memories from Half Moon Run’s set, other than that they were enjoyable and from Canada.
I was more excited for the next band, Haim, who I saw recently when they opened for Mumford and Sons. For a band that doesn’t even have a full-length album out yet, Haim has some serious (and well-deserved) buzz. The sisters from LA put on a high energy show with a lot of percussion. They got a longer set than at the Mumford show, which was great. I was bummed that they didn’t play “Don’t Save Me” but other than that I have no complaints. The most amusing thing for me was the facial expressions of the bass player. I’m sure she was similarly crazy at the Mumford show and I just couldn’t tell because I had nosebleed seats. But she busted out some serious Whitney from The Hills amusingly surprised facial expressions for the whole set. It was very entertaining. If you ever go to a Haim show, she’s the sister that you want to watch.
At 9:30pm Of Monsters and Men hit the stage. I was slightly nervous about their live show, considering that their SNL performance this season was very low energy and underwhelming. Turns out that must have been a fluke because they were AMAZING. You know what wasn’t amazing? The attitude of the other people in THE BEST SEATS IN THE VENUE. My friend Bev and I were the only people standing in our section. The other sections all got the memo – this is a concert and you stand up and have a good time. The male singer finally called everyone out before “Mountain Sound” to tell them that this was a standing-only concert so they need to get up. Which they did for one or two songs and then sat down again. DC crowds disappoint me constantly.
With only one album out, there weren’t a lot of surprises with the set list. They played all of My Head is an Animal, kicking things off with the album opener “Dirty Paws” and busted out a fabulous cover of “Skeletons” by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs to open their encore. At the end the crowd clearly wanted more but they had to say “I’m sorry, we don’t have any more songs.” They got “Little Talks” out of the way midway through the set, which, as you can imagine, turned into quite the crowd sing-a-long.
It was just a delightful evening of endearing Icelandic folk-pop. Everything about this band just makes me want to give them a hug. They have multiple songs about woodland creatures, for goodness sakes. It shouldn’t make any sense, but it’s all so bizarre and catchy that I love it. The bass player wore a tux for who knows what reason. Nanna sprinted into the crowd to do a lap around the amphitheater, because, why not? They had fake snow…in the summer. Every aspect of the show was just delightfully random. See them live, Yeah Right Nation. See them live.