Of Montreal Grace Charleston with their Fanciful, Experimental, Psychedelic Glam-Pop-Funk Presence
I have seen of Montreal a total of five times now. With that beings said, I feel as if I have the authority to honestly say that not only is every time I have seen them different, but every time is better than the last. They performed at The Charleston Pour House with special guest Nedelle Torrisi, on January 21st, and the members of the jam-packed, sold-out show, could not have cared less that it was a school night. Charleston got down like they have never gotten down before, all thanks to of Montreal’s magical, mystical, mastermind of a front man, Kevin Barnes. Barnes has never been a fan of computer engineering on his albums, thus the band’s live performances sound identical to the recorded versions. The songs are multi-layer, lo-fi, rhythmic disco, pop rock tunes that are still uncluttered and clean, despite the various vibes within them. They’re high-energy dance songs that sometimes break down into intimate tear-jerkers, or climax with the crowd jumping to the beat and screaming along to the whimsical lyrics—sometimes melancholy, sometimes jovial.
Supposedly, there are people who fail to find something enjoyable in of Montreal’s supremely eclectic sound, but everyone in the Pour House that evening certainly found something to love. There wasn’t a person standing still in the building all night. Everyone was dancing and singing along, laughing at the vaudeville-esque performance, and completely immersing themselves in their surroundings. There was a ring-leader in a luchador mask, narrating the show and engaging the audience in a way I’ve never experienced at a concert. He introduced Kevin, and the band started with “Bassem Sabry,” the first track off of their new album “Aureate Gloom,” which is being released today (March 3rd, 2015) via Polyvinyl Records. The band soon approached their first cover of the evening, “Time Will Show the Wiser,” a 1968 release by Fairport Convention. Shortly after, the visuals and tears erupted when Kevin crooned “Your mother hung herself in the National Theater/When she was four months pregnant with your sister/Who would have been thirteen years old today/Does that make you feel any less alone in the world?,” the opening lines to “Colossus.” However, the fun-loving mood was soon revived by the bubbly tempos of “For Our Elegant Caste,” “Gronlandic Edit,” and an absolutely effervescent cover of Gloria Estefan’s “Rhythm Is Gonna Get You.” The crowd was ecstatic at this point, but somehow the atmosphere sky-rocketed to new levels of bliss when feathers and confetti rained down on the audience. The projections and dancers went crazy, and people started crowd surfing and hugging their neighbors as the band closed their set with “Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse.” It was complete-and-total dream-music-video style fantasy-become-reality, the likes of which I have never seen before.
Of Montreal’s tour is just kicking off, with dates all over the U.S. and Europe scheduled through May and as aforementioned, “Aureate Gloom” is debuting today. I can only imagine that as the tour progresses, they will be showcasing songs off of their new album, getting even more adventurous with projections and performers, and creating the best experience possible for their fans. If you gather nothing else from the article above, take this: open a new tab on your browser, find the tour stop closest to you, buy a ticket immediately, procure some confetti or glitter in preparation, and get ready for the best night of your life. Try to take notes, try to take photos, and try to remember every single aspect of the party-like performance, because you are guaranteed to get absolutely lost in it in the best way possible. Of Montreal will not disappoint.
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