News Column

Mumford Mockers Of Monsters and Men Come to Crossroads KC

May 23, 2013

Timothy Finn

There is a video going viral via social media called "Start a Mumford Band!" It's a parody by a comedy troupe called the Key of Awesome, and it mocks a growing trend in music that seems ready to reach its breaking point.

The song parodies Mumford and Sons, the British band that helped launch a trend that turns a mix of old-time country, folk and Celtic music into something akin to a pep rally.

Tuesday night, Of Monsters and Men, one of the more popular bands among that trend, sold out Crossroads KC, the outdoor music venue on the outskirts of downtown Kansas City. The band is from Iceland, is not even four years old and it has but one album in its discography, "My Head is an Animal," released in 2011. Yet it consistently draws to its shows crowds of around 2,000-plus, as it did Tuesday night.

The formula they rely on is as reliable as it is appealing. Songs are catchy and melodic and built around hearty choruses, often embellished with chants of "hey!" and "ho!" and lots of "la la las," which typically ignite lots of clapping and fist-pumping in unison. It also has its own turn-of-the-20th-century fashion.

As the parody goes: "Ya don't need a drummer in a Mumford Band / Ya just stomp your feet, and ya clap yer hands/Oh oh oh oh oh oh oh."

This has become such a popular flavor of music that bands like Of Monsters and Men get launched into headlining status at big venues like Crossroads KC before they have enough material to fill a standard 90-minute set.

Tuesday's show lasted a hair under 75 minutes and comprised . For the most part, it was lively and energetic. Monsters has two primary vocalists, Nanna Bryndis Hilmarsdottir and Ragnar "Raggi" orhallsson. Faithful to the formula, others in the band contributed vocally to the choruses -- gang vocals, as it's called.

The Monsters pretty much let the music do all their talking. Not much energy or personality came off the stage between songs, and as the show progressed there was some inattentiveness (and lots of talking) among the crowd in the back half of the venue, especially during ballads like "Love Love Love."

The biggest moments were "Little Talks," the band's only real hit, the trumpet-infused "Beneath My Bed" and "King and Lionheart," one of its other popular songs. Those coaxed most of the large crowd into joining the sing-along reverie, just like the parody goes: "So pull up your suspenders, chug another jug of wine Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1899."


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