So if you just saw their fantastic show at the Tabernacle in Atlanta, and want to see them again, and hopefully not have to endure the hell ride into ironic false hair metal that was Limozeen, this is your ticket.
Some thoughts on the Atlanta show that happened over the weekend...
Of Montreal played to a comfortably crowded house on Saturday night at the Tabernacle. It seems like it was only yesterday that they played the old Eyedrum downtown to all of about eight people. Alas, that was eight years ago, and since then their following has grown exponentially. Icy Demons played a cool, rhythm-heavy set, but my memory of their show is tainted by the travesty that was/is Limozeen. I dont know where these guys came from, but I hope that I never have to endure their shite metal shtick ever again.
I lived through indie rock in the 90s and the one thing that never ever sat well with me was the bloated sense of irony that was such a huge part of the culture. The slacker chic thing really did a number on the collective consciousness of the times that still creeps out from time-to-time in the here and now. Remember when Urge Overkill dressed-up and did that Neil Diamond crap? Pavements image? Weezers career? Unfortunately I do too. These days it shows up in horribly mutated outgrowths, like those FreeCreditReport.com commercials where the dipshit slacker guys sing about how badly they screwed up their credit and now they have to work at a seafood restaurant.
At one time indie rock was dominated by this kind of tongue-in-cheek stupidity, and bad memories of those times are made all the more horrible when a band like Limozeen is given a stage in front of a huge audience. It's a terrible idea and in their minds it justifies what they are doing.
In essence it was a bad joke... A fake metal band... Something that could have been funny if it lasted for a maximum of 1-to-3 songs tops. But no... These guys went on and on and on, thrashing their fake wigs, posing in ridiculous outfits, wailing, riffing and taking the joke way too far.
I understand the psychology behind placing a terrible band onstage before the headliners, which in-turn makes the headliners all the more spectacular. But it was a huge disservice to make Of Montreals fans sit through this awful spectacle that, for many in the crowd, was a stamina killer.
We are only given so much time on this green earth. Why waste it on something like Limozeen?
My resentment subsided when Of Montreal took the stage shortly after 11 oclock. The show exceeded expectation on many levels, and in many ways it felt more like I was watching a play. Various characters acted out scene after scene onstage, peeling through costume changes and scenarios that werent bound by any unifying narrative whatsoever. It was the physical manifestation of their latest album, Skeletal Lampings array of disconnected pop fugues, and the action was a bit disturbing.
The presentation was a seamless merger of musicians prancing around in thrift store costumes while scenes of sexually charged weirdness, bar fights, a fight between a pig and a tiger and so on played out. At one point frontman Kevin Barnes was very realistically hung from gallows, and later emerged as a Centaur.
Back to the irony thing... Yes, it's impossible to deny that there is a strong strong element of irony at work when you see Barnes parading around stage in a half-man/half-horse costume, sure. But it is only one small element of a much greater production that transcended simple showmanship.
But above all else, Of Montreal had the musical chops. At one point in the distant past, the group took on a Beatles-esque approach to rhythm, whimsy and songwriting. But at some point a discernible change came over them when disco beats infected their sound. The show on Saturday night combined the best of both worlds. Two drummers weighed in over Barnes' now decidedly Prince-like stage presence ... Prince in the depths of a mushroom binge, dancing around various threads of social, psychological and sexual tension, all wrapped in a technicolor glow. The Georgie Fruit character wasn't too invasive either. Like Freddy Kruger, he remained in the dream-like fringes. It was unmistakably Kevin Barnes was at the front and center of the stage for this show.
The late B.P. Helium's big black wings that flapped every time he moved were a bit gaudy, but his form and presence were pretty much flawless. In the context of any other show he would look foolish. But amidst the actors, the cartoons playing on video screens overhead, and Barnes' high-energy schizophrenia he looked perfectly natural.
Sadly, there was no sign of the horse; the one that Barnes so proudly rode in on at Roseland Ballroom show in NYC that Pitchfork made famous.
For an encore Of Montreal returned to the stage to perform a rendition of Franz Ferdinand's "Take me out," but I couldn't take anymore. Irony aside, I was zapped by it all and had to tap out.
Throughout the evening I had been trying to detect a hint of hay or the smell of a horse in the air but I got nothing. Nothing, that is, over the horrible stench still lingering in the air after Limozeen's display, of which I was reminded every time one of their members strutted through the crowd with a Thor-like swagger, blonde wig hairs flapping in the breeze over their leather pants as they tried to pick up chicks.
At the time it was annoying. But in retrospect, in the context of Skeletal Lamping's surreal qualities, it wasn't too out of place... a bad chapter in a very good dream. If you missed the Atlanta show, do yourself a favor and see Of Montreal in Athens.
Photo by Jason Thrasher
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