June 12, 2005
BY JASON SONGE
Of Montreal ignited a dance party at Twiropa Sunday night. I've never seen so many people in The Tchops Room jumping up and down and getting down. Quite a crowd. I had no idea so many people were into Of Montreal, but after hearing their music, it's no surprise why.
Their music speaks to the child in us. I wouldn't go so far as to say Of Montreal is undeniable, but unless you don't like happy music, you're in for a treat. Of Montreal plays cheerful, whimsical pop with programmed handclaps included. They're six people from Athens, GA that are led by founder/main songwriter/singer/guitarist Kevin Barnes.
Of Montreal came with a very entertaining show. They employed synchronized dance moves, and they were charismatic. By the way Of Montreal talked to the crowd and bandmates, it was clear each was a born entertainer. Barnes rocked out as he threw his leg backward, and he had some kickin' b-boy moves for the more dance-ready tunes, as well, suckas. Barnes wore a Sgt. Pepperish outfit that wasn't quite as flamboyant, while the female keyboardist wore a wreath on her head that was outlined with white Christmas lights.
Of Montreal formed in '97. They got their name from the fact that Barnes was inspired to form the group in the wake of a broken romance with a woman from Montreal. They just put out their seventh album, which used more programmed beats than their previous albums. At the show there was a drumkit set up at the front of the stage, but sometimes the drummer was playing keyboard or trumpet. Of Montreal's music made me dance like a hippie--how a kid does free-form arm motions with a stupid grin on their face before they're self-aware.
Reference points: The Pretty Things, The Kinks, The Polyphonic Spree, The Flaming Lips, and New Pornographers.
"Requiem for O.M.M.2" had jump beats, along with sunny melodies, sunnier guitars, and synthesizers reminiscent of Fountains of Wayne. Later in the concert, the set became more dance-oriented. This change was accentuated by Barnes' costume change. He came back wearing a fly blue poncho and a super friggity fresh knit cap, y'all.
"I Was Never Young" had the hip-hop sensibility of Talking Heads and the falsetto drama of Queen.
Barnes' singing during the concert was pretty. At times, he sang in an earnest way, like he was overwhelmed by a rush of love.