I don’t know where to start. I knew what to expect of Of Montreal‘s Thursday night show at The Irenic, but there was no way to prepare for it. Opener Diane Coffee, fronted by Foxygen drummer Shaun Fleming, played a set of 60’s pop-inspired tunes to the growing crowd of theater kids, smiley hipsters, and middle-aged dads. He asked who has seen an Of Montreal show before, to which the twenty or so people at the very front of the room cheered. He said we were in for a real treat.
Of Montreal’s set started with a man in a full-body, uh, body costume, straight from the muscular system pages of a biology text book. He told us he was a little nervous because our grandfathers didn’t go fight Nazis so we could listen to Rock ‘n’ Roll in God’s house. But the show went on, he introduced frontman Kevin Barnes, and no one was smited.
Of Montreal’s set was as much a live musical as it was a concert, with costumed figures running onstage every few minutes performing skits and dancing, or holding up white circular screens to catch psychedelic projections from the visuals tech upstairs. The band played an eclectic setlist, choosing highlights from at least four of their 10+ albums including “Gronlandic Edit“, “Id Engager” and “Empyrean Abattoir“, plus a fever-dreamy performance of “Plastis Wafer” while two strangely sexy poodle-humanoids in American flag jumpsuits boxed each other before Abraham Lincoln in a Flash costume broke up the fight, and the Poodles took off their suits to reveal stuffed pink poodle-humanoid breasts.
As far as live music performances go, Of Montreal’s was in my top five of all time. I could tell that each of the hundreds of minute details were planned and rehearsed, the lights and projections were interesting but not distracting, the costumed goings-on were fascinating and hilarious, and all of the musicians were ultra-talented. Special shout-out to keyboard player Jojo Glidewell who looked (and played) like a professor of analog electronics. 10/10