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Music

Of Montreal Does Montreal, and Does it Well

Posted by Chip / March 13, 2007

Of Montreal with Grand Buffet @ La Tulipe, March 12, 2007
20070313_ofmontrealonstage.jpgAt a time when most local bands - 32 to be exact - are in Austin to perform at SXSW, you’d think that it’d be hard to find a good live show to check out. Me and a few hundred others were grateful that Of Montreal arrived to play in their namesake city last night at La Tulipe.

I will admit that I knew little about the band before going to see them live. Well, almost nothing actually – I was armed only with the knowledge that though they were named after Montreal, they actually originated from Athens, Georgia. And although to some it may seem that their notoriety seemed to coincide with the rise in popularity of the Montreal music scene, really, one has nothing to do with the other. Of Montreal has been putting out albums for at least 10 years and judging by the show, has a loyal, sweaty following.

In jam-packed La Tulipe, you couldn’t help but sweat profusely.
20070313_stilts.jpgOf Montreal appeared on stage in full costume, highlighted by Darth Vader and a Fur-Covered angel/guitarist. Remaining band members, including front man Kevin Barnes, donned various configurations of make up reminiscent of scary clowns. From the onset, there was minimal band chatter as they stuck to their business of playing music. In fact, the music, costumes, and video screen alternating displays of freaky animation and the live performance, meshed together seamlessly to put on a show that I will not soon forget.

20070313_keyboard.jpgIt’s hard to put a label on the music which at times was catchy and melodic, at other times rhythmic and trance inducing, almost psychedelic. Performing live, it seemed that their influences could have ranged from 70’s rock and disco to 80’s electronica. Either way, it was hard to avoid foot-tapping and gradually breaking out into dance as the show progressed. As the night wore on, Barnes was inserted atop a stilt supported costume and sang from 10 feet above the stage. Later he produced a huge Norwegian flag which made its way through the audience in homage to his one-time residence. And though you’d think he would be used to yells from the audience commenting on his outfits, Barnes seemed to blush (through the makeup) when one adoring fan commented on his very visible butt-cheeks.

Of Montreal have a new album out which is worth checking out. You can listen to the entire cd, Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer? at/on their website. And if you get a chance to see them live, do it.
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Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for opening act. In a performance that reminded me of equal part high school talent show and part sketch comedy, Grand Buffet failed to inspire. They seemed more comfortable with spoken word than the rap – I don’t know what else to call it – tracks and accompanying banter.
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Discussion

10 Comments

Cait / March 13, 2007 at 10:09 pm
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Ironically, I had a dream last night that Kevin Barnes (the lead man of Of Montreal) tried to kill me. Weird, eh?
Chip / March 14, 2007 at 10:10 am
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That is weird, but I can see it. What, with all the make up and outfits he could be mistaken for the boogey man at times. That being said, on stage he seemed like a really sweet guy.
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