Of Montreal at The Stage Miami, November 28
Presented by Mute Miami
The Stage Miami
Wednesday, November 29, 2012
Better Than: A 3D Muppet Babies musical remixed by Diplo and Wavy Gravy.
Of Montreal is one of the most photogenic bands around today. The wild color schemes and patterns empolyed as a visual supplement to their music are as bright as their grins are wide.
They've got props. They've got costumes. They've got people whose whole job is to make brightly colored plastic rain down on the audience.
And when Instagram is supplying the photo filters, you know we're all in for a dose of candy that will be oh-so-sweet for the eyes and ears alike.
Last night, Kevin Barnes and his merry band of pranskterish indie-disco-poppers looked like a an army fashioned out of lollipops. Their brand of psychedelia -- communicated mostly via visual components like album art, extravagant costumes, and theatrical flourishes peppered throughout the set -- is blindingly bright, sunny, and flash-filled.
The projected backdrop behind the band showed quick clips of the members acting like weirdos -- not to mention way-trippy, cartoon-y visuals, which were stylized more like Yellow Submarine than Sgt. Pepper's, though could ultimately be categorized as New Internet Psychedelia, known to art huffers as "New Aesthetic."
The freaks with the balloons were Of Montreal's Oompa-Loompas.
Of Montreal's elaborately whimsical (at its strongest) and wacky (at its worst) live show is one of the band's most celebrated qualities. And The Stage's intimate atmosphere, clear lines of sight, and immaculately mixed sound system really imparted the feeling of the performance being "an experience."
And as the hallucinatory visuals orgasmed all over everybody's retinas, the band plowed joyously -- with visible, toothy smiles -- through one pop piñata explosion after another. Meanwhile, costumed freaks released balloons and confetti like drone slaves to the gods of silly.
The guys in the gas masks were Of Montreal's gimp-slaves, bred in secret laboratories to entertain the masses.
From the look of their style and the sound of their jams, it would appear that Of Montreal have consumed psychotropic drugs every single day of their lives, but have never once had a bad trip. That's the only way we can explain how they can be trippy as fuck while also seeming like "real nice kids" who you wouldn't be worried about bringing home to Mom.
Of Montreal fans are likeably weird too.
For example, the below picture is technically a piece of shit. But it's a piece of shit that is highly relevant to our interests. See, there's this guy going around to live music events in a Spiderman costume.
We didn't remember him until we saw the above photograph, and then we realized we had seen him about two or three other times (at least) in the past few months. Though blurry, this evidence of some kind of comic book roleplay freak frequenting concerts in Miami is on par with footage of the lochness monster and pictures of chupacabras.
Is that Spiderman crowdsurfing or is the audience being attacked by a chupacabra?
Silly, trippy, unbridled ...
But while Of Montreal's output most definitely falls under the broad umbrella of psychedelia, it's worth noting that, in a lot of ways, the group's music is the least psychedelic thing about them. This is not a critique so much as a neutral observation.
In a live context, the music's danceability -- rooted in 2000s electro-informed disco and Elephant Six-style orchestral power pop -- comes to the forefront. And the audience responded with exponentially increasing movement as the set progressed, despite being crammed in like a stable of clowns in a teeny-tiny Punch Buggy.
The Crowd: Overwhelmingly female, concert norms, freshly hipstered 30-somethings, girls in indian headdresses, Ladies Night!!!!, wigs and costumes, All Songs Considered podcast junkies who looked like nerdy wallflowers at a high-school dance, Wynwoodies and Design Districtarians.
From the Crowd: A Palm Beach county insider revealed that certain Of Montreal members (including frontman Kevin Barnes) spent some time growing up in West Palm. Who knew?!
From the Stage: Balloons, confetti, and countless other expressions of "brightly colored crap."
Of Montreal's Setlist:
-"My British Tour Diary"
-"Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and Other Games)"
-"You Do Mutilate?"
-"Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse"
-"A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger"
-"Touched Something's Hollow"
-"An Eluardian Instance"
-"She's a Rejector"
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