Of Montreal | 11.19.07

live_ofmontreal_sm.jpgOf Montreal’s exaggerated attire and stage presence perfectly represents the wackiest parts of Prince and David Bowie.

 

 

 

 

 

w/Grand Buffet and MGMT
The Pageant,
St. Louis

live_ofmonreal.jpg 

Indie rock shows are notorious for having unenthused, dance-free crowds. I have been at quite a few concerts where the band pleaded with the head-nodding crowd to shake their hips a little. When Of Montreal plays, though, hipsters dance on their own accord. The Athens, Ga., band brought their over-the-top, funky glam rock to The Pageant for a wild night of music and glitter.

The opening acts hyped the crowd for the spectacle that was to come. MGMT delivered fun psychedelic rock that induced a fair amount of head banging. Though charming in small doses, their drawn-out songs got old after their long, 50-minute set. The second opener, Grand Buffet, was very shocking. The duo emerged looking like they belonged in a heavy metal band; the crowd was instead treated to an entertaining set of hardcore rap. The band’s often hilarious songs ranged from the topics of abortion and hell to building tree houses. They ended their set with a dance party with MGMT because it was their last night on the tour with Grand Buffet and Of Montreal. The stage was full with eight men frolicking about the stage, much to the bewilderment of the laughing crowd.

Now eagerly awaiting the emergence of Of Montreal, we were wondering what sorts of costumes and antics the eccentric band would deliver. The stage was set up with three large projectors and four raised platforms of varying heights. The band took the stage looking like rejects from Ziggy Stardust’s backing band; their faces glittered and their clothing colorful and futuristic. They started the show with a pair of Prince covers from Purple Rain, "I Would Die 4 U" and "Baby, I’m a Star." They played them so naturally, you wouldn’t have guessed the numbers they weren’t the band’s own material. Their exaggerated attire and stage presence perfectly represents the wackiest parts of Prince and David Bowie. Frontman Kevin Barnes danced all around the stage while his four band mates each played from their own riser (which lit up with the beat of the music, by the way).

Of Montreal followed their high-energy opening with a rocking selection of songs from their three latest albums, most notably this years critically acclaimed Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer? Their psychedelic dance pop kept the crowd moving like a mosh pit to their infectious beats. Of Montreal‘s bass player is the busiest guy in the band. Their bass lines are so intricate and ceaseless that they occasionally had two people playing bass. The crowd cheered for songs like "Suffer for Fassion" and "Forecast Fascist Future." My personal favorite of the night was "She’s a Rejector," which had the crowd jumping up and down in unison to the ripping guitar riff. Halfway through the show, Barnes changed out of his modest red outfit into a legless denim jumpsuit with blue tights and a gaudy green jacket. He explained that he had gotten the jacket from the Golden Girls and the tights from Elton John ("so you know I’m sexy" he explained). The band played a generous four-song encore which featured crowd favorites "Heimsdalgate Like a Promethean Curse" and "The Party’s Crashing Us."

This was my fourth time seeing Of Montreal. Their show was definitely better suited for The Pageant than the tiny Gargoyle, as their sex-infused theatrics and visually stunning show are made for larger venues. As much of a visual spectacle as their concerts are, though, it is their music that brings me back every time. Their sparkles and bright colors are out-glittered by their amazing musicianship and dancey beats. Their shows just put a smile on my face because it is always a party that keeps me tapping my foot as their music plays in my head for days after. People this talented are easily excused for allowing their songs to be butchered by Outback. | Pete Wissinger

Photos by Todd Owyoung

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