May 15, 2011
There's a certain outrageousness associated with of Montreal. Frontman Kevin Barnes performs in skirts and makeup in the middle of a vaudevillian spectacular that includes giant fish people, disappearing acts, and Barnes riding a live white horse.
With the exception of the horse, these elements were in full force at their Halloween extravaganza in Tucson last year. Of Montreal stopped by The Marquee Theatre last night in support of their new EP, thecontrollersphere, and left most of the theatrics behind.
That's not to say it was totally gone; there was plenty of visual stimulation. The lights dimmed to reveal footage of a businessman walking down a hallway, met with a fan shouting, "Fuck the suit!" The businessman was quickly replaced by images of Hulk Hogan's Pastamania, Tiger Woods, and cute dogs. It's time to say goodbye to our blasé nine to five lives: of Montreal is about to woo us with something weird and spectacular.
The band made a grandiose entrance to the backdrop of two guys dancing in what appeared to be a Spiderman muumuu costume. All of the costumes were over the top; words don't do them much justice.
The three songs played from The Controllersphere EP fell a little flat. The album has been out for less than a month, so this isn't completely surprising. Plus, the audience was more receptive to of Montreal's better-known, upbeat sing-alongs.
This was the case for "Suffer for Fashion," although wrestlers sporting luchador masks abetted the crowd's enthusiasm. A referee managed the ongoing bout as a woman flirted with him, and a fighter hung upside down as he was repeatedly punched in the groin.
During "And I've Seen a Bloody Shadow," Barnes' horse was replaced by two luchadors transporting a man in a powdered wig. He approached a woman in a wedding dress who stripped down to a bra and panties upon seeing him. The band continued playing like nothing unusual was happening.
"Coquet Coquette" lured a man with a lobster claw arm, a birdman with short shorts, and two pig people in flesh-colored body suits on stage. Barnes ran in slow motion toward the pig people while the others danced around.
The violinist freestyled and got the crowd jumping while Barnes changed into a shirtless matador costume for "Faberge Falls for Shuggie." He had no problem hitting the high notes of the chorus, a feat the crowd struggled to imitate.
Things got even stranger during the next song break. Barnes disappeared as two performers sang a piano duet and dancers suggestively bit into produce. The main female dancer peeled and ate a banana, and her male counterpart let orange juice drip into his mouth.
Painted Palms kicked things off with some dancy chillwave. They later joined Of Montreal during "Shuggie", holding signs that read "never/forever" "fuck it/love it" "I never came/everyone's welcome."
Kevin Barnes may not have dry humped a pig person this time around, but the less-than-subtle theatrical innuendos were pretty entertaining.
1. L'Age d'Or
2. Suffer for Fashion
3. And I've Seen a Bloody Shadow
4. Plastis Wafers
5. Coquet Coquette
6. Just the Tip
7. Faberge Falls for Shuggie
8. You do Mutilate?
9. Gronlandic Edit
10. Yip Deceiver
11. Like a Tourist
12. Flunkt Sass vs. the Root Plume
13. Oslo in the Summertime
15. Bunny Ain't no Kind of Rider
16. Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse
17. Slave Translator
18. She's a Rejecter
Last Night: of Montreal at Marquee Theatre.
Personal Bias: Hissing Fauna, Are you the Destroyer? is among my top ten favorite albums.
The Crowd: Garden-variety hipsters sprinkled with twentysomethings in Elton John-inspired attire.
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Overheard in the Crowd: "Ass to ass!" about six times.
Random Notebook Dump: You can say it takes a man to wear a unitard...
One more thing: My notebook reads like an LSD-fueled porno.