of Montreal Glams Up Webster Hall [3/31/12]

Posted on: April 3rd, 2012 at 11:26 am by

Funkadelic glam rockers of Montreal got their freak on at Webster Hall on Saturday evening to a sold out crowd. Playing the second night of a back-to-back stint, the Athens-based band took the stage at 9 pm and immediately started their renowned hijinks. The stage setup featured a plethora of screens switching between various patterns of psychedelia, while lights showered the venue in a steady stream of color. A group of dancers, present throughout the entire night in various costumes (usually unknown creatures in white silky patterns or human projector screens), launched massive bags of white balloons which floated about, bathed in the reflections of various strobes.

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Lead singer Kevin Barnes, in fits of erratic dancing throughout the night, retained an impressively high level or energy for the entire two-hour performance. The band played songs from their newest album Paralytic Stalks, and dug deep into their discography to mix things up. Most impressively, their stage shtick and song selection weren’t there to counteract each other for crowd energy level purposes. They simply went balls-out all night, and the parade of oddities was just an enhancer. And what an added bonus it was: an intense run through “We Will Commit Wolf Murder,” “She’s a Rejecter,” and “Nonpareil of Favor” layered pounding bass and flickering lights around the venue. An already moving crowd literally shook the ground with dancing, moshing, and jumping when a group of white bodysuited dancers (with capes and the whole underwear-outside the pants thing) began crowd surfing. Later on, profoundly mutton-chopped guitarist Bryan Poole also decided to take a dip into the sea of hands.

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The entire affair seemed like an endless carnival of oddities, like the lyrics to an of Montreal song surprisingly snubbed from the set that begins with “let’s have bizarre celebrations.”

After closing the first set with “Authentic Pyrrhic Remission (Part II),” the dancers were the only ones left on the stage. Dressed as pigs in frilly shirts borrowed from Benjamin Franklin’s closet, they hammed it up (sorry) to keep things warm for the encore.

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Upon returning, the group was accompanied by a gaggle of aliens and a female boxer clad in full regalia of stars and stripes. The aliens tore off their capes to reveal nude female bodysuits, complete with inflated breasts, and topped that by stripping one of the dancers down to his pink briefs. While all this was going on, Barnes and the gang were not in the least bit distracted – they saved their tightest harmonies and grooviest bass for last. Not allowing the shitshow behind them to impede on a raging peak of an encore (like they did all night, except for when Barnes was held atop a group of silky white silhouettes), the band tore through “Gronlandic Edit.” The chorus, an intricate three-part harmony, became more than a simple sing along, despite nearly everyone’s failing to match Barnes and his trademark falsetto. In perfect sync throughout the night, the band tightly segued into the serene  “A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger” and closed the night with it.

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Despite playing in a city jaded to the obscene and insane, of Montreal certainly left their mark on Webster Hall.

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Writeup and photos by Benjy Tocker

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