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ISSUE 120 VOL 16 PUBLISHED 3/23/2007

Kids hamper Of Montreal show

By Alyssa Kleven
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 23, 2007

On March 16, Of Montreal played a sold out show to an all-ages crowd at Minneapolis' First Avenue. Openers Lonely, Dear, a Swedish band whose musical stylings were much more low key than the headliners, failed to provide the energy that you'd expect when opening for well-known eccentrics Of Montreal. The music was pretty and Lonely, Dear's front man had a good stage presence, but there was too little pulse to hang onto when gearing up for a danceable concert.

Of Montreal played a bumpin' show that drew mainly from their latest release, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? The band also included favorites from past albums like “The Party's Crashing Us,” “Forecast Fascist Future” and “I Was Never Young.”

Their song titles might make as much sense as their stage show. The band's backdrop was a screen featuring negative close ups of dancing band members in their ridiculous costumes, interspliced with acid tripping animations that resembled comic skulls, possessed baby dolls and a satanic Cyclops with four extra eyes dripping down his face. To the side of the main screen were images that are either (debatably) about rape or that just came out of your parents' high school year book.

The band's lack of audience interaction wasn't a downfall to the show. Of Montreal could have talked more to the audience, but they made up for it, in those subtleties we all appreciate, winks, smiles and intimate serenading to the front row. Of Montreal has professed in the past their enjoyment of interaction with the fans. Guitarist Bryan Poole said: “It's an old show biz thing” of interacting one on one with super fans in the front row. “We like to give the guys and girls some fun time,” Poole said. (He was referencing fellow bandmate Kevin Barnes who kissed audience members and has even stripped for other audiences.) Nothing that outlandish, aside from singing atop a latter caped in costume, happened at First Avenue.

The intense homoeroticism projected from the heterosexual and married Barnes is just another flaming candle on the delightful frosted top of the Of Montreal show. His multiple wardrobe changes reflected a psychedelic channeling of Freddy Mercury, though slightly more promiscuous. It wasn't odd to see Kevin Barnes strutting his stuff in fish-nets and short-shorts. Their high energy style inspired constant dancing on the main floor, as they the audience grooved to the lead single of Hissing Fauna, “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse.”

The thing that brought the concert down was the short people. By short, we mean young. It wasn't enough that some of us towered over the younglings, but patience with the immaturity wore thin pretty quickly. Five minutes into the show a 15 year-old stripped down to his boxers from the back of the dance pit, and threw his clothes at an unknowing Barnes, missing the stage by almost 10 meters. It was then evident that the reason the parking lots weren't full was not because people were planning on sober cabs, but instead because they were all going to be out front afterwards waiting for Mom.

Of Montreal encored with a three-song medley ending with “Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider.” It topped off a night of good music filled with jam-band interludes, costumes no theatre department could top, and songs that obviously thrived in live performance.

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