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CONCERT REVIEW: Of Montreal @ The Troc

Photo by PETE TROSHAK

Kevin Barnes brought his indie-rock carnival show Of Montreal to the Trocadero last night. Born from the ashes of a failed relationship, the band is now in it’s sixteenth year of performing songs about love, sex and running away to Norway to escape your troubles. Wearing paisley leggings and matching hunter green shorts and boots, Barnes strutted like a man who knew he owned the stage as well as the crowd. His keening, Bowie-esque vocals narrated 16 his most beloved haikus-set-to-new-wave/indie-grooves, totally ignoring Paralystic Stalks, their well-received current release, in favor of a Best Of setlist. The music was great but only half of the attraction though, the other half of the equation was a stunning visual feast. The tone was set during the first song, when the band took the stage followed by four people in skeleton costumes. The skeletons then proceeded to snake a long, intestine-like balloon through the crowd till it wound all through the pit area. After seeing that you weren’t surprised when a person in a mouse costume acted out dying on stage and gave birth to another creature, when Barnes ended up in a costume where he was ten foot tall with flowing robes and butterfly wings, or when every available surface including people’s bodies were used to project trippy videos or images. The show was like a race between sound and vision with each taking the lead at various times and sometimes both reaching a crescendo together. One of these peaks came, fittingly enough, during the encore song “The Past is a Grotesque Animal.” As a rainbow of lights swirled and strobed the roaring crowd, first guitarist Brian Poole then Barnes himself took turns crown surfing deep into the audience. On their backs, legs in the air wailing away on their axes while being passed around by an adoring crowd, they left the fans with one last memorable visual for 2012. — PETE TROSHAK

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