Thursday, February 22, 2007

Of Montreal Live Review (2/20/07)

No, Kevin wasn't naked. If that's all you wanted to know, you can move on now. If you're not sure what I'm referring to, apparently you haven't been keeping up on your reading (DISCLAIMER: DON'T CLICK ON THE LINK IF YOU ARE AT WORK, NEAR SMALL CHILDREN, OR JUST DON'T HAVE THE DESIRE TO SEE KEVING BARNES' PENIS)

After my usual preshow warmup (side note - the new Blonde Redhead sounds amazing while high) we ventured into the Granada. I've never thought of the Granada as a big venue before, but after seeing Of Montreal in much more intimate setting like the Jackpot and the Bottleneck, the Granada seemed a little big for them. However, the bigger space did make it a little easier to breathe, as the last couple of Bottleneck shows were packed-to-the-max sold out. This show supposedly was 30 tickets away from a sellout, but seemed even more comfortable than that (unless you were up front, then I imagine you probably were packed in pretty tight). My friends and I took up residence on a nearby platform so we could actually have a view of the band and their new video projection screen and 2 smaller side screens (obviously the money they received from the Outback Steakhouse commercial was put to good use).

The band took the stage shortly after, and opened with "Suffer for Fashion". I really like this song, and it is a great song to open with, but the song did not sound quite right. I chalked it up to the fact that we were near the back of this bigger venue, but as the set progressed I learned that this was not necessarily the case. Unfortunately, several of the new songs did not sound mixed quite right. This is partly due to the fact that Of Montreal has officially stepped out of the shadow of their former psych-poppy selves and started employing a drum machine more often than a live human drummer. In fact, I think the only reason they have a live drummer is for when they play Satanic Panic and some Sunlandic material. After another album or two like the new one they will probably lose the live drums entirely.

Anyhow, from there the band moved into the brooding and moody "Cato as a Pun" which led perfectly into the brooding and moody "October is Eternal" which seagued perfectly into the "I Was a Landscape in Your Dream", a pretty bleak set of songs if you ask me. Luckily they got it out of their system, because right after came a set of older, and dancier songs. First came the rockin' Sunlandic opener "Requium for O.M.M.2", the lovely "Lysergic Bliss" (complete with the vocal harmony at the end) and an amazing "Vegan in Furs" that was so energetic I just wanted to throw my hands in the air (instead I just kept dancing with Girlfriend, which, you know, is pretty nice too...). Throw in "Forcast Facist Future", a song that never fails to get the crowd moving, and you have to high point of the show for me.

While I can't say I had a bad time after that, that would be a total lie, I can say that some of the new songs still sounded a bit off and that affected my listening experience. The biggest exception was "Grondlandic Edit", which actually sounded pretty fucking awesome in the live setting. I wondered how the vocal part would translate, or if they could even pull off the falsetto, but they nailed it perfectly. The older material still sounded great, but unfortunatley they didn't play very much ater that. They threw in "Rapture Rapes the Muses", which is pretty much a live staple since it is, as they proclaimed when I saw them back in '04, their first dance song (of many now), and ended their main set with the always great to hear "The Party's Crashing Us".

At this point in time it seemed to me like the show was ending a little soon. After reading some of the other set lists from this tour, I can safely say that Lawrence got the shaft, which is unfortunate because I really would have loved to keep dancing all night, and there were certainly plenty of songs they didn't play that would have fit the bill perfectly ("Wraith Pinned to Mist" and "The Past Is a Grotsque Animal" for starters), but all ages shows must end sometime before midnight, so it goes. The encore was a little underwhelming. "We Were Born the Mutants Again With Leafling" was pretty cool, but almost too slow after the all the dancing we had been doing. To my dismay, they ended with a Fiery Furnaces cover that I do not know the name of. I could never really get into that band, but Of Montreal did a great job with it. However, it would have been nice for them to end on one of their own originals. Seriously, where was "Wraith"? I know that the band has become a target for selling that song, but who cares? Its a fucking great song, and would have been a much better way to go out on than a cover that many in the audience are probably not aware of (a compromise would have been a Bowie cover, which they've also been doing on this tour). Maybe I'm bitter, I don't mean to sound that way, I guess I was just not very happy with the encore. I love this band and I'm happy for all their success. I hope the get the new songs figured out a little more and come back in the fall, on a weekend, and don't stop playing 'til the last hipster drops.

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