I learned something last Friday. A free show will attract two types of people: die-hard fans who travel upwards of five hours to see their favorite bands, and people who probably haven’t been a to concert in years, let alone one involving near-nudity and whips.
As it was the first date of a new mini-tour for Of Montreal, they broke out all sorts of new equipment, costumes and fan-pleasing treats. While many fans (myself often included) seem to cling to the complaint that they rarely vary their setlist from show-to-show, Friday’s concert proved why they don’t have to: they’re not focused on what they play, they’re concentrated on the showmanship of how they play.
One might say that Of Montreal’s new show is a valiant display of one man’s struggle to be free–of his clothing, that is. Kevin Barnes alternates between channeling the icy cold, sexual appeal of Prince, and the raw energy of Iggy Pop. Granted, he left the broken glass at home, but they found other ways to spice up the show. At one point, Kevin’s bandmembers bound him in plastic wrap and whipped him with a riding crop. Maybe Hissing Fauna… is the S&M record?
Theatrics aside, the Of Montreal show was still amazing. All the between song antics and costume changes were less a distraction and more icing on a very wild (fruity?) cake. As has become so characteristic of me that’s it’s probably stereotypical of me to say this, but I enjoyed their covers more than anything. The Late B.P. Helium lead the crowd in the the catchy chants of the Brazillian classic, “Bat Macumba” while Kevin changed clothes for the first time. Then they later reworked “Till There Was You” from my favorite musical, The Music Man, before ending with a spot-on cover of Peaches’ “F*ck the Pain Away” that allowed Kevin to make the concert even more sexual.