of Montreal | 04.22.09 | Philadelphia

Words by: Jennifer Minsky | Images by: Mitch Manzella

of Montreal :: 04.22.09 :: The Trocadero :: Philadelphia, PA

of Montreal :: 04.22.09 :: Philly
Go see of Montreal. Even if you have to travel an hour (gas prices have definitely decreased), fret about having to get up early for work the next day (your body will still be energized from absorbing the beats), and most importantly, if you have no idea what this band is all about (pure greatness), take the trip. Additional benefits include (but are not limited to): (A) instant happiness – smile as your auditory system revels in the sounds it is receiving; (B) theater appreciation – while you will not get course credits, drama will unfold right before your eyes as you witness a dance troupe interpret songs through avant-garde performances (enjoyed by sober and chemically induced individuals alike); and (C) the band itself. Kevin Barnes and company will mesmerize you not only with brilliant lyrics and powerful, trippy tunes, they will enter into your psyche and set up residence (believe me, this is a good thing). Thus, given the opportunity, there are absolutely no valid excuses as to why anyone should ever miss seeing of Montreal live.

In case this is an introduction to some, the current lineup includes Barnes (singer/songwriter extraordinaire), Dottie Alexander (keyboardist/renaissance woman), Bryan Poole (guitar/angel), Jamey Huggins (drums/renaissance man) and Davey Pierce (bass). Descriptive words can never truly replicate what music sounds like, but in trying to explain of Montreal's sound to virgin ears it's a combination of funk, rock, psychedelic pop and electronica. What more could one hope for? Perhaps lyrics that could live up to the music's high standards, and that is also what Barnes provides. Cerebral, character-driven and ethereal, Barnes is not afraid to delve into his unconscious and bring everyone else with him.

of Montreal :: 04.22.09 :: Philly
The show at The Trocadero was spectacular. The only criticism was that everything seemed to be scaled down. However, I must preface everything by noting that I was one of the lucky ones to see the band on Halloween night (the one night of the year that creativity and madcap antics are a necessity) at a larger venue. The Trocadero's stage is quite small and did not really lend itself to the band's elaborate set-ups and performances. For example, it didn't seem viable to do the whole scene with Barnes being carried in on a coffin, shaving cream covering his naked body (yes, this does actually happen).

The show opened with "Nonpareil of Favor," the first track of their latest release, Skeletal Lamping (JamBase review). Almost immediately a dance troupe dressed in pajamas brought out a pre-lit Christmas tree, accompanied by presents, which when opened revealed gas masks, which were subsequently donned by the members who pranced around the stage. Yes, welcome to the world of of Montreal.

After a rendition of "Rapture Rapes the Muses" off Satanic Panic in the Attic, the band went into "Oslo in the Summertime" off of 2005's The Sunlandic Twins. Other memorable tunes included the first three tracks off Hissing Fauna...Are You The Destroyer? ("Suffer for Fashion", "Sink the Seine", "Cato as a Pun") played sequentially, as well as "Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider" from the same album. After playing "The Party's Crashing Us," Barnes retreated backstage and came back wearing a dark brown, furry lion costume, complete with a very, very long tail, and proceeded to belt out the lyrics to "Mingusings." The last song of the set was "A Sentence of Sorts in Konsvinger."

of Montreal :: 04.22.09 :: Philly
Throughout the set, crowd surfing was in full force, which admittedly is something I have not seen in a long time. One brave, lucky soul actually rushed onto the stage and ended up embracing Barnes for perhaps five seconds before being torn away by security. After the band retired backstage, the floor started pounding with chants and coaxes for an encore. Sure enough, the band reemerged to play a few more tunes and completed the night with fan favorite "She's a Rejector." As the song wound down, Barnes teased the audience with Pete Townshend moves, almost destroying his guitar but deciding instead to boldly thrash his sinewy frame into the drum set. How much more rock & roll can it get?

The band does have quite an impressive discography (nine studio albums to date) starting from 1997 and their songs have ultimately become classics in their own right. Receiving praise from critics and fans alike, there is nothing out there that can compare or compete with of Montreal's sound and vision. When these individuals come together and do what they do, they simply want to spread love, and you will definitely succumb to the bliss.

of Montreal tour dates available here.

Continue reading for more pics of Montreal in Philly...


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