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Thursday, May 16, 2013

Concert Review: Of Montreal Live at The Cedar Cultural Center

Put on some dancing shoes and those skin-tight pants you got down at the thrift store and get ready to let your freak flag fly at full mast because Of Montreal shows are all about getting groovy, happy, and down-right weird.  Having seen the Athens-based Indie Rock outfit's set at Lollapalooza in '09 I had a good idea of the chaos and stage antics that would ensue last night at The Cedar Cultural Center in Minneapolis... or so I thought. 

The show opened with a set from the appropriately dancey Indie Rock band Wild Moccasins.  It's not always necessary to include the opening act in these things, but this energetic 5-peice group set the tone for what would soon become a fantastic night full of surprises.  Co-led by a mesmerizing female vocalist/keyboardist with an attitude and a male vocalist/guitarist who bares an incredible resembelence to David Byrne both musically and physically, Wild Moccasins puts on a fun show and seems to be a very promising musical act.

It's hard to put into words some of the things that happened during Of Montreal's set.  By the time front man Kevin Barnes started riding a "horse" through the crowd while singing a selection from what is now a very vast original catalog I knew that this would be more than just a show... It was a circus,  a theatrical freak show, a magnificent party tailored precisely to the likings of those who are weird enough to be Of Montreal fans in the first place. The eccentric and energetic band-members, witty and colorful background projections, props and confetti, appearances of bizarre mythical creatures and characters, and often risque theatrics created an atmosphere in which there is nothing left to do but dance, laugh, and try to wrap your brain around what is going on on stage.

Of Montreal's set bounced nicely around their 12-record catalog; some notable selections were "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse," "I Was Never Young," a rare cover of "I Shot The Sheriff," "She's a Rejecter," and "Oslo in the Summertime." After nearly an hour and a half of nonstop grooves and chaos, the show came to an end.

As I walked over a mess of confetti, popped balloons, and feathers towards the exit, I excitedly questioned my friend who had just seen Of Montreal for the 6th time.  I was fascinated to find out that each show is quite different than the last; the recurring characters, theatrics, props, set list, all of it changes night to night.  I felt as though I had just discovered some secret place where everyone's weird and no one cares, and all I want to do now is go back!

So, in a nutshell... If any of this sounds interesting to you or if you are an Of Montreal fan but haven't seen them live, I highly recommend going to the next show you can.  They will be continuing their tour of the U.S. until mid-July. 

10/10 Freak Flags

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