I think you know where I’m going with this. The show obviously surpassed all expectations.
Perfectly arranged set list – covered.
Album-matching quality of songs - covered.
Out-of-this-universe props and actors – covered
Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – literally, covered.
Kevin Barnes’ scantily clad body – literally, covered in red paint and shaving cream.
Since so much of the band’s current identity has to do with Kevin Barnes’ campy alter ego, Georgie Fruit, it made sense that they’d center their set around the past two albums. 2008’s Skeletal Lamping has delivered them to the masses, more fragmented, playfully conflicted and sexually charged than ever. Literally, it shows.
Barnes is one of the great songwriters of this generation and it’s easy to miss that because...well, (see picture above). He's a showman. I can only liken Saturday’s post concert buzz to what I imagine it must have felt like after seeing Alice Cooper in 1977 or Bowie on his Stardust tour.
In a recent interview with Paste Magazine, Barnes commented on his stage act:
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. We sort of have the attention of the world, and now’s the time to really do something sensational…I just want to put on a great production—something people will think about and talk about for a while that, hopefully, will inspire people...We want to try to transform it, so it’s an otherworldly experience—something so exceptional, so out of the ordinary, that people will have that special moment, like when you see a movie or a painting or read a book that really touches you. The reason it touches you is because it’s jumping out from this other world, and it burns in your memory as something exceptional. “
Mission accomplished, Mr. Barnes. Every section of air and every second of that set had a purpose. You wouldn’t think someone else’s self-indulgence could be so welcoming. But just like he does on their records, Barnes pulled us into Of Montreal’s imagination. And let’s not forget about the supporting cast. As my astute concert-mate, Jack, noted, the bass and drum lines remained constant throughout, often jamming for transition and maintaining the energy level. A package doesn’t come much tighter.
Along with the recent releases, the 2-hour-plus performance gave life to some slightly older favorites like “So Begins Our Alabee” and “Oslo in the Summertime.” For as much attention as their “new direction” gets, these songs felt as congruent as anything else. I’ll still give Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?’s “A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger” and “Gronlandic Edit” my personal highlights for the night.
But the band is known for their cover-song encores. So the cake was iced with Franz Ferdinand’s “Take Me Out”, which sounded better than you would think. And of course, the entire Palladium immediately converted to head-banging 12 year olds at the first chords of Nirvana.
I took a boatload of videos and pictures. I’m thinking that might be the best way move this recap forward:
"A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger" with the shaving cream filled coffin:
"Take Me Out" cover:
And 5 more videos can be found here.