Of Montreal at Cedar Cultural Center, 5/15/13
Photo by Tony Nelson
With Wild Moccasins
Cedar Cultural Center, Minneapolis
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Most bands tour the country stocked up with all of their gear and a collection of merch. Of Montreal also packs as many costumes as a Broadway show.
From the skeleton-faced clowns who joined the band on stage during the first song, "Chrissy Kiss the Corpse," releasing a never-ending string of balloons for the crowd to devour, to the small reptile people in armless red jumpsuits during "Girl Named Hello" who eventually revealed their robust fake breasts into the eager faces of front-stage viewers, the band did not hold back on the theatrics. Oh, and at one point, someone dressed as Hercules battled a skeleton guy before they fired off leaf-blowers full of feathers.
Kevin Barnes is one of those people who might be considered a "character," with his asymmetrical haircut and ability to pull off wearing women's clothing, but it doesn't appear to be an attempt at anything subculture or ironic. It's authentic. The man can rock a blazer and blouse better than Christina Applegate in Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead.
Photos by Tony Nelson
During "You Do Mutilate?" an assertive man standing on a soapbox next to Barnes, waving his bible at what was staged to be a lynching ended up freeing the other performers who arrived on stage. The crowd cheered. As much as Of Montreal shows are energetic and promote partying and dancing, many of the themes within the performance are very political and focused on death.
And others are pretty random. Like during "Sex Karma," from their 2011 release False Priest, when the psychedelic graphics on the projection screen were embellished with rotating cartoon heads of who I'm pretty sure was Morgan Freeman.
The crowd's arms waved ferociously and the pupils continued to dilate when the band played "I Was Never Young" and "Oslo in the Summertime," two of the more widely known tracks from the 2008 record The Sunlandic Twins.
Many bands with such vast discography, for better or worse, tend to focus on their most recent album when they tour. Of Montreal seems to respect the fact that many of their fans have been with them for years, so they give them a good sampling of records, at least back to 2004's Satanic Panic in the Attic.
Photos by Tony Nelson
Although Barnes's vocals are enough to fill a room alone, the now more prominent accompanying vocals from Rebecca Cash during certain songs really add to the dimension of the melodies. Not to mention they have captivating chemistry on the stage.
The show ended with a three-song encore, which started with a humorous demonstration of what could perhaps be a political statement on the band's behalf. As the crowd cheered, begging for more, four people came on stage in spandex body suits and plastic facemasks. They directed the audience to be quiet. "Shhhh." Then they demanded the crowd to applaud and cheer -- then separated the room in half to have dueling cheers (like they do at a pep rally in high school). Social experiment or not, it kept the fans intrigued to close out the show.
Critic's Bias: I've been a fan for many years and hadn't seen them live for a few, so I was hoping for a damn good show. They delivered.
The Crowd: Younger than expected and very enthusiastic.
Overheard in the Crowd: Upon hearing a spill on the venue floor, "was that beer or puke?" It's a reasonable question at an of Montreal show.
Random Notebook Dump: Barnes was wearing a lovely gold broach.
1 - Chrissy Kiss The Corpse
2 - Spiteful Intervention
3 - You Do Mutilate?
4 - I Was Never Young
5 - Sex Karma
6 - Girl Named Hello
7 - Middle Child
8 - And I've Seen a Bloody Shadow
9 - Plastis Wafers
10 - St Exquisite's Confessions
11 - Hydra Fancies
12 - Oslo in the Summertime
13 - Suffer for Fashion
14 - Sink the Seine
15 - Cato as a Pun
16 - Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse
1 - The Traveler
2 - Disconnect the Dots
3 - She's a Rejecter
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