Tag Archives: Kevin Barnes

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Like a Disco from Another Dimension

May 23rd, 2013

Of Montreal – Music Hall of Williamsburg – May 22, 2013


Just so you’re forewarned, in case you didn’t get the memo, shirts were optional for the encore at last night’s of Montreal show at Music Hall of Williamsburg. The set opened in high energy, the band hopping with an almost punk intensity and white-clad human balloon structures with skeleton masks skulking around the stage. From there it was a stream of constant multisensory activity: thick slabs of psychedelic funk music and plenty of weirdo concoctions to see. This was music you could hear, see, smell, taste and feel. Songs from the entire catalog were stitched together into longer stretches, like a DJ working the dance floor, Kevin Barnes leading a disco from another dimension.

Almost every other song was accompanied by some stage production: “You Do Mutilate?” featured a faux preacher curing the blind as Barnes seemed almost oblivious to the craziness behind him, the band going supergroovy. And then, as the music slipped into a hypersexed prog rock, things quickly went from PG to R with “Plastis Wafers.” Barnes returned to the stage following a rocking jam as a winged angel king, his white shroud serving as a human screen for the Day-Glo projections during “Hydra Fancies.” Every time the stage door opened, you could only wonder what kind of what-is-that!? would emerge.

Still, the closing five numbers, when the antics were kept to a minimum, were the highlight of the show. Beginning with “Sex Karma”—sung as a duet while three keyboards went thick—and ending with “A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger,” the band and crowd locked into an ultragroovy, frenzied fugue fueled by a constant carbonated bass. Well, come to think of it, yes, “Suffer for Fashion” had some sort of giraffe theme going on (because, why not?), and the closing tune did feature He-Man making out with Skeletor under a cloud of confetti, but whatever, it was an otherworldly dance party. The encore started with the guitarist singing a Space Trucks song, a supercharged afrobeat that popped into a fun cover of “I Shot the Sheriff” and finished with Barnes singing “Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider” while large creatures made out of stuffed animals roamed the stage. It was the stuff of a madman’s dream, thankfully with the funkiest soundtrack you could ask for. Oh, and you can put your shirt back on now. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Peter Senzamici | petersenzamici.com

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Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See Of Montreal on 5/22

May 21st, 2013

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Kevin Barnes’s genre-spanning Of Montreal bring their wild live show to a sold-out Music Hall of Williamsburg tomorrow night. But we’re not telling you that to brag. No, The House List is actually giving away two tickets. So if you don’t already have any but would still like to go, try to Grow a Pair of tickets for F-R-E-E. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (Of Montreal, 5/22) and a brief message explaining your Memorial Day weekend plans. Eddie Bruiser, who’s looking for a worthwhile way to spend his three-day weekend, will notify the winner tomorrow. Good luck.

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Learning to Love of Montreal

December 12th, 2012

Of Montreal – Webster Hall – December 11, 2012


Despite my friends’ urging, I could never fully get into of Montreal. I’m no stranger to music with a heavy dose of drug culture—a quick check of my dresser in high school would have revealed the most glorious tie-dye shirts from the Grateful Dead, Phish and a plethora of lesser known jam bands. Despite of Montreal frontman Kevin Barnes’s knack for catchy pop lines (to which I am completely endeared) and even my own brief obsession with “The Party’s Crashing Us,” the group resided just a bit left of center for me. However, I couldn’t continue to ignore the incredible reputation their live show has built. So last night, I decided to take the plunge at Webster Hall.

And what a terribly deep descent into weirdness it was. From the very beginning of the night, of Montreal confirmed my deepest fears. In the first minute, four people in fat suits and skeleton masks ran onstage and danced around. As it turned out, these dancers became the focal point of the stage show. Each of their costumes was more elaborate and bizarre than the previous, and each song on which they appeared was more intricately choreographed than the one before. At one point, they fed the crowd a solid stream of balloon tubes, as if to dare everyone in the audience to make their own balloon animals. Later, we were treated to a saga involving the murder of a rat by an owl, with subsequent desecration of the carcass by an ant. All the while, trippy and colorful animations were projected all over the stage. Phish’s light show couldn’t hold a candle to this stuff.

But this immense spectacle never took away from of Montreal’s music. While the band couldn’t possibly replicate the energy of their multitracked studio recordings, they kept the set tight and spunky. Barnes sounded absolutely stunning vocally, and he also didn’t allow himself to be outdone by his own show. He crowd surfed, made a few costume changes of his own and even joined in on the fun by sitting on the shoulders of the dancers, appearing like Andre the Giant in The Princess Bride. I’ve never seen anything like it. And just like that, I began to love of Montreal. —Alex Kapelman

 

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Of Montreal Come to Webster Hall Next Tuesday

December 7th, 2012

Since forming back in 1997, Of Montreal’s lineup and sound have changed, but the one constant has been Kevin Barnes, who got the impetus to create the band following the end of a relationship with a girl from—you guessed it—Montreal. The group he founded has been active in the collaborative indie-pop community in Athens, Ga., and has been involved with the Elephant 6 Recording Company, a musicians’ collective. And as Barnes has gone through life changes—getting married, moving to Norway to have a child, coming back to the U.S., briefly getting separated from his wife and daughter before reuniting—so has the tone of the music. The band has incorporated synthesizers and different elements of funk, pop, psychedelia and rock into the songs Barnes writes. And being surrounded by so much creativity, he writes a lot: Their 11th full-length studio album, Paralytic Stalks (stream it below), came out earlier this year. Watch them, above, doing “Forecast Fascist Future” at this year’s SXSW, and then go see them at Webster Hall next Tuesday.

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See Of Montreal This Friday

September 16th, 2009

Since forming back in 1997, Of Montreal’s lineup and sound have changed, but the one constant has been Kevin Barnes, who got the impetus to create the band following the end of a relationship with a girl from—you guessed right—Montreal. The group he founded has been active in the collaborative indie-pop community in Athens, Ga., and has been involved with the Elephant 6 Recording Company, a musicians collective.

Being surrounded by so much creativity has spurred Of Montreal to record music prolifically: They’ve released nine studio albums and six EPs. And as Barnes has gone through changes in life—getting married, moving to Norway to have a child, moving back to the U.S., briefly becoming separated from his wife and daughter before reuniting—so has the tone of the music. The band has incorporated synthesizers and different elements of funk, pop, psychedelia and rock into the songs Barnes writes. See Of Montreal, above, playing “Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse,” from 2007’s Hissing Fauna, and then see them on Friday, September 18th at Terminal 5.