Of Montreal | 10.24.08

live_of-montreal_sm.jpgIt was maybe the best thing ever.



The Pageant, St. Louis


When did it get so fun to see shows in St. Louis? Inside of one week, I saw two shows at which both the band and the audience were great. The first was Man Man over at the Bluebird on Monday night, and the second was Of Montreal at the Pageant on Friday night. What great punctuation to the workweek!

Anyway, despite their frequent appearances in town, this was my first time seeing Of Montreal live, though I had heard a lot about their shows. And I hadn’t heard wrong: Of Montreal’s shows are a spectacle of Flaming Lips proportions. There was a faked suicide, nearly nude, fake nude and bodysuited dancers (and band members; lead singer Kevin Barnes is notoriously flamboyant), gunfights, mythical creatures, pigs being groped (at least until a tiger came and broke it up), and all kinds of other, similar nonsense. On top of that, I couldn’t see what was going on onstage half the time, because I was sequestered directly behind a big group of costumed revelers—a banana and a cow among them—who were dancing like they were twelve. It was maybe the best thing ever.

Of Montreal made this trip to town to promote their new album, Skeletal Lamping, and they opened up with one of that disc’s better tracks, the album-closing "Id Engager." They also played (a)rousing renditions of all of Skeletal‘s key tracks, such as "For Our Elegant Caste" and "Gallery Piece." Best was "Plastis Wafers," which had Barnes singing "I want you to be my pleasure puss/ I want to know what it’s like to be inside you" while nearly naked and being rubbed down with red body paint, in which he would proceed to dance suggestively once coated.

I can’t help but wish I had seen them when they played The Pageant last year on their Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? tour, as that album is a masterpiece compared to the still-very-good Skeletal Lamping. Luckily for me, they hit almost all of my favorite tracks from Fauna, including the unbelievably catchy "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse" (that’s the "Chemicals" song; damn those literary song titles!) and "She’s a Rejector." They also found time to squeeze in my favorite pre-Fauna single, The Sunlandic Twins‘ "Wraith Pinned to the Mist & Other Games."

Of Montreal closed the show with Fauna‘s "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger," which was upbeat and a nice finale, until they did their encore: two lesser tracks from Skeletal Lamping and then a cover of "Smells Like Teen Spirit," which was fun and functional but still not nearly as great as their own songs. Still, the show on the whole is one of the best I’ve seen in years, and was made so much the better by a crowd that was really into it. Basic extrapolation shows that maybe my past unhappiness with St. Louis audiences’ enthusiasm levels at shows is directly related to my failure to go to Of Montreal’s other shows, which is a mistake I won’t make again. | Pete Timmermann

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