Imagine that in a parallel universe the Beatles stumbled upon the legendary Fountain of Youth back in the ’60s while on some crazy acid trip adventure in the woods with David Bowie. Now imagine that they added Bowie to the band (because why the hell not?) and they are all still alive today, young and well, and had decided to stay together to continue exploring the possibilities of experimental psychedelic rock while having gained all kinds of extra musical influences spanning up to modern times.
I like to think that, if this were to happen, it might sound something like of Montreal does. Now, I know it’s a huge stretch to say they sound like such a timeless and incredibly talented classic band such as the Beatles, but as far as musical talent is concerned, of Montreal is a worthy comparison in my opinion (Disagree? Agree? Comment below.).
Keep in mind that the Beatles were a band for about a decade before going their separate ways. Of Montreal has been around since 1996 (almost two full decades now!) and they’re still going strong with insanely innovative, catchy new tunes. Top that with the fact that they throw a live show that could fairly rival even the Flaming Lips in theatrics, psychedelic creativity, and pure wizardry of feels.
On January 16th, 2015, these magical psychonauts descended upon Orlando to play the Social and it was easily sold out. There was a long line of hopefuls waiting outside trying to score a lucky last minute ticket and the inside was almost as tight as a sardine can, but there was just enough room to dance ever so slightly. I was grateful for that because I would have been really bummed if I had to keep still for of Montreal’s irresistibly moving grooves.
Before the show really got started, frontman Kevin Barnes announced that he was adopting all of us and would pay for our college. The crowd went wild with cheer! YEAH! We definitely couldn’t turn that down. We had just then been transformed into completely willing test subjects for a wildly imaginative night. And on that note, wonderful music began to pour out.
Of Montreal took us on a surreal journey through their bizarre world of ethereal beings, monsters, and sorcerers; all things silly, creepy, magical, and absurdly brilliant spilled forth from the stage so constantly and fluidly that it was hard to believe such things could have even been conceived. It was as if they were being summoned from distant planet through a kaleidoscopic wormhole.
At multiple times during the set, some of their fantastical creatures crowd surfed over our heads. We were all so giddily immersed in the show that helping these otherworldly beings float gracefully to their destinations was all gravy, even on the upper level of the Social, which I had never seen any band do before, even in the ten plus years I’ve been going to shows there.
At some point, there also emerged some kind of beautifully creepy, tall, ghostly figure with long flowing wings that was projected upon like a pulsing tie-dyed backdrop behind Barnes as he played. Oh, and then there was this giant, grotesque cyclops slug thing too and.. Oh boy, I don’t think words can do this awesome weirdness the justice it deserves. You had to have been there!
Anyway, I was very pleased to hear a lot of my old favorite songs. Particularly, “The Party’s Crashing Us,” which someone at the show managed to capture beautifully, especially considering how tight of a crowd it was in there. I hope you might enjoy this almost as much as I did. 🙂
Please do yourself a favor and catch these guys next time they come around if you missed them this time and don’t forget to grab that ticket early! Also, be sure to keep an eye out for their upcoming album, Aureate Gloom, which will be coming out March 3rd. I have no doubt that it’s going to be incredible, just like their last one. Here’s a two-song preview to check out in the meantime:
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