It would be hard to find a group of people more whimsical than the members of Of Monsters and Men (and that’s saying something, considering they’re from Iceland, the land of Bjork).
Despite the fact that they’ve logged countless hours flying all around the world to deliver their particular brand of chamber folk that the kids all seem to love these days, they were ready to party at their first Lollapalooza.
“At these festivals, we always try to have as much power as we can,” explained singer Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir. “So we take the songs that have the most oomph.”
“Our dance music,” added bassist Kristján Páll Kristjánsson.
People did in fact get a little crazy at Of Monsters and Men’s early-evening set, inspired no doubt by the cooling temperatures and the buoyant grooves and melodies that run through songs like “Mountain Sound” and “King and Lionheart.” But a lot of that action happened onstage — or rather, backstage.
“We do most of the dancing ourselves before we go on,” admitted percussionist Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson. “I don’t know why. We have this sort of African thing going.”
“There’s lots of chanting and hitting things,” added Hilmarsdóttir.
The weather was much kinder to all the bands on Sunday following Saturday’s storm, which resulted in a forced evacuation of the grounds. But Of Monsters and Men aren’t new to festival messes. “I went to Roskilde in 2007 with the other singer and the piano player,” Hilmarsson said. “It was raining heavily. There was mud up to our hips. We were sort of rowing through the mud. We didn’t see many bands, but we saw a lot of mud. We saw the Beastie Boys and the Killers, so that was great.”
One thing was missing in Chicago — a tour highlight for Of Monsters and Men during a run of shows Down Under: “We had a great time in Australia,” Hilmarsson said. “We met some koalas. They smell weird, and can be vicious creatures.”
“We were holding them, and we were supposed to act like trees. I started rocking them and they got really mad at me,” Hilmarsdóttir said.
“Mine loved me,” Kristjánsson joked. “I took him home. He’s on our bus right now.”