Of Montreal’s show this past Saturday was the best I’ve seen them since their Roseland Ballroom show in New York. And really, it’s almost an unfair battle since that show had a horse and Andrew from MGMT guest-guitaring on a Nirvana cover. So as far as regular shows go, this one was just about tops.
I think a large chunk of why I liked this show so much was because Of Montreal finally hit the right ratio of crazy stage antics to normal rock concert. They’ve pretty much always done weird stuff — the first time I saw them, back on the Sunlandic Twins tour, Kevin came out in a wedding dress and married the crowd — but lately it’s been nearly overwhelming. But the show this weekend was nearly perfect. They’d go two or three stretches without anything and then knock your socks off with a well-timed bit of stage play from the non-band members. Or even when something went on for a while, like when David Barnes dressed as a Cardinal and got kicked by Kevin for trying to sexually abuse someone dressed as a boy, the band used it as an excuse to let the Late BP Helium turn in a pretty rocking psychedelic guitar solo… I think they might be turning into Funkadelic.
Now, I don’t mean to say that them toning down the crazy stage stuff means that they were half-assing it. If anything, I think this tour pointed out Of Montreal’s creativity. They may not have brought out rotating stage pieces or a light-up bridge, but the show was never lacking in activity. They have a new blue screen set-up that tosses several layers of whatever band member is being filmed onto the projection screens behind the group — used to great effect during those psychedelic guitar solos I mentioned. They also had some stage hands in green masks pose around Kevin and BP with colored spot lights, which I was really surprised I’d never seen before. It was a simple, cheap idea that worked really well — and aren’t those the best kind?
One of the funnier stage banter moments at the show was when Kevin revealed his latest idea for a bumper sticker. I’d heard him mention his ongoing quest to think up great ones, but this was the first I’d heard of it in a while. Between songs he said that on Friday he thought up one that said “God Humps Camels.” He pointed out that creationists and people into bestiality — the two big demographics — would be way into it.
The setlist was on the positive side of average as far as Of Montreal setlists go. We got “Du Og Meg” — which I don’t know that I’ve ever heard live before, the new song “Coquet Coquet” and a great one-two punch in the final encore. After wrapping up the set, Heather McIntosh and Kevin Barnes crept back out on the stage. Kevin wore an Edward Scissorhands-like goofy deadpan face and played the acoustic guitar while Heather took the microphone and repeated the line “Means more to me than friends” over and over. Eventually the whole band and crew came out to lock arms and sing along behind her before collapsing in a heap. It was goofy, but really sweet. You can watch some shaky video of it here.
After that the regular band members grabbed their instruments and jumped into their cover of the month, the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” I’ve seen them do a lot of covers over the past few years, but that one is easily one of the best. After the first verse, Rikky and Heather jumped out on stage and started providing the best backup dancing I’ve ever seen two regular people do. It was an incredible amount of fun and that made the 7+ hours I spent in the car and fender bender I was involved in (NOTMYFAULT) all worth it.
Here’s looking forward to the next record and the next tour.
Loads more photos after the break.