When I was in high school, I used to actively look out for new bands to obsess over. I would buy CDs and know the lyrics to all the songs. These days, it doesn’t really happen so much anymore, if at all. It’s not that the music isn’t great; there are a good amount of songs on the radio that I like. I just don’t typically go on to listen to what else a band has to offer unless another one of their singles makes it on air.
Of Monsters and Men is one of the bands that has gotten me the closest into how I was before. It helped that they already had several popular singles on the radio, but I really liked their sound a lot and I’ve ended up listening to My Head is an Animal, their debut album, multiple times in full. That’s why I got pretty excited when I found out that they were going to have a concert here in Southern California. The icing on the cake was that this particular concert was part of the 92.9 KJEE Summer Round Up and would also feature Family of the Year, Walk the Moon, and Banks. The only downside was that the venue was all the way in Santa Barbara at the Santa Barbara Bowl. I’ve been there to see The Fray in concert once (and Jack’s Mannequin was there too, actually), but I wasn’t excited about having to make the drive down there and back.
I bought two tickets and went with my friend Annalou because she liked the bands that were performing too. We stopped by the Strawberry Festival first before making our way to the bowl for the show, but we missed the opening opening act. We did make it just in time to catch Family of the Year do their set though. I love their song “Hero” and I loved it even more after hearing it in the movie Boyhood, so I’m glad that I got to see them perform it live.
Next up was Walk the Moon, another band with a couple songs that I like, including their more popular songs “Anna Sun” and “Shut Up and Dance”. They have such a great energy and their set made me want to go to one of their actual headlining concerts some day. They even did a cover of The Killers’ “All These Things That I’ve Done”. I liked them before, but that just won me over completely.
Annalou and I went to get some food after Walk the Moon performed, but the line was huge and we missed out on much of Banks’ set. I’m not as familiar with Banks’ music as much as the other bands that I saw perform that night. The only track of hers that I can name off the top of my head is “Begging for Thread”, but at least we got back in time to see her perform that. It also got really dark quickly.
After yet another break to move instruments in and out, Of Monsters and Men took the stage. They were so great and performed a mix of their more popular songs and some tracks from their newest album (which hadn’t been released yet during the time of the concert). I had heard a couple of the tracks that they released on YouTube and was looking forward to seeing them perform “I of the Storm” in particular because there is just so much emotion in that song and I don’t really know how to explain the feeling. It aches, but it’s also a little comforting. Beautiful. That song is just beautiful.
Even if Family of the Year, Walk the Moon, and Banks weren’t performing that night, I probably would have still gone just to see Of Monsters and Men, but I am so glad that this combination of bands/artists happened. Having such a fun night listening to great music made the drive up to Santa Barbara completely worth it.