At the Of Monsters and Men show at the Koolhaus last week I realized something – a good majority of my favourite bands have a few very specific things in common: (1) a female band member, (2) at least one of the trumpet, accordion, mandolin or the violin (the more the merrier); (3) an epic, foot-stomping kind of sound that sounds every bit as good acoustic as it does plugged in; and (4) a palpable love of their art and appreciation of their fans that makes them a genuine pleasure to watch on stage. Thursday’s Monsters show was one of two sold out back to back shows in Toronto. The band played a solid handful of songs with the kind of energy and intensity that could have made it their last of the night.
When it actually was the end of the night, instead of giving the audience a nod and shuffling off stage, the entire band linked arms and took a bow. It reminded me of seeing Arcade Fire play at Bonaroo 2011 and watching on the big screens as they looked out over the enormous crowd with even greater awe than we looked back at them.
These are bands that truly seem to love what they do, who still, after numerous awards, accolades and sold out shows, still seem genuinely shocked at the sea of people before them when they walk out on stage. Before I get all misty eyed and start weeping on my computer, mourning the passing of the festival season, I’d like to share a few examples. Picking videos was impossible, because rather then selecting my favourite tune, the latest single, or the best quality shoot, I wanted a video that really captures that special something that made these moments so magical for me.
Of Monsters & Men – Mountain Sound
Arcade Fire – Wake Up (live at Reading Festival, 2010)
Head & the Heart – Winter Song (I so badly wanted to find a live shot of their performance at Coachella 2012 where I first met, and fell in love, with the band, but they were so small back then I couldn’t find a single decent recording. This one is only a few of the band members, but I thought it was pretty special)
Lumineers – Ho Hey
Finally, I can’t say that I’ve seen these bands live, nor that I’ve spent enough time with them to give them favourite status, but here are two more bands that fit my aforementioned criteria and have captured my heart: the Kopecky Family Band and Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeroes:
This is music that makes me love music. Which bands do it for you?