House of Blues (Dallas, TX)
– By Michal Elizabeth Smith –
“Celebrating OMAM from the Back of the Room”
I was fourteen years old when I went to my first concert. I conjured up thoughts of what it was going to be like, but I did not know for sure; however, there was one thing I did know. I needed to be as close to the stage as possible.
At the time that venue was general admission only, which meant, I was going to be standing the entire time. I was young and could handle the cramped spaces with little breathable air. I was barely able to see the stage, but I was close; so I wasn’t bothered. Fans crowd surfed, and I pushed them past with ease. From the ages of fourteen to eighteen I could handle the insanity of concerts; in fact, I welcomed it.
Now at the timeworn age of nineteen I have a different outlook on concerts. My energy level is ever diminishing, my need for personal space is ever increasing, and my parents no longer pay for the tickets! The love and loyalty I have for live shows has not changed; however, what has changed is the way I go about appreciating them.
I arrived at the House of Blues for the sold out Of Monsters and Men show two and a half hours early, making it to first in line. The Dallas heat was unbearable, not a cloud or spot of shade, and I asked myself, “How much longer?!” I hadn’t taken a step inside and I was moments from heading home, but alas, the doors opened and I immediately felt relieved. Walking hurriedly down the stairs into the room, I made my way to the stage. Within minutes the room hit capacity.
It was exceedingly hard to breathe pushed against the stage barrier, and it wasn’t long before I realized it would be another hour before the opening band, Half Moon Run and another hour before OMAM. My heart sank.
I longed to not be disgusted by the drops of stranger’s sweat on my clothes. A sense of queasiness came over me from the lack of air in the building. I wanted to enjoy the show, but a decision had to be made. I sorrowfully pressed my way through the crowd to the back where I found a seat, happily, in full view of the stage!
OMAM opened their set with one of my all-time favorites, “Dirty Paws”. What I love most about this band is their proficiency of both their recorded and live material. Their debut album, “My Head Is an Animal” is a phenomenal record and the fact that their performance surpassed their record is nothing short of remarkable. Their unique vocals and instrumentals were as catchy as they were pleasing. The band is, without a doubt, a must see.
I was blown away with their humility and outstanding stage presence. Two teenage boys bought pink roses for the female lead singer and guitarist, Nanna Bryndís Hilmarsdóttir, claiming they were “hopeless romantics”. She responded with a soft kindness and earnestness that made my emotional connection to them that much stronger.
The concert ended with confetti and the band bowed as fans cheered. The memories of heat, and unpleasantness faded, giving way to what exactly I had remembered a concert should be; a celebration.