(From The Campus Lantern – March 12, 2015)
If I had to choose one word to describe the of Montreal show that I went to on Monday night at Toad’s Place in New Haven, I’d have to go with “unique.”
The opening bands, Yonatan Gat and Deerhoof, were both raw and guitar-heavy. Instead of playing in front of the crowd on the stage, Yonatan Gat played in the center of the pit so everyone had an equal opportunity to see the band. The band’s songs had more guitars than vocals, and the crowd showed that they enjoyed what they heard by clapping after every song.
The next band, female-fronted Deerhoof, could also be characterized by their screeching guitars and hard-to-distinguish vocals. The band, which last played at Toad’s Place seven years ago, had a stage presence that the crowd loved – cheers and whistles could be heard after every song.
Up last was of Montreal, a band that could be described as a mix between experimental pop and glam rock. Throughout the night, the band’s set was a mix between theatrical fantasy and catchy tunes. The lead singer, Kevin Barnes, was introduced by a character named Lanc that was dressed up in a red spandex suit, a black cape, and an all-white facemask.
The night continued on with other theatric characters coming onto stage during of Montreal’s set. At one point, there was a character in an Abraham Lincoln mask wearing a Spiderman spandex suit grinding on two characters with poodle masks, American flag spandex suits, and huge, misshapen breasts. All the while, the backdrop behind the band showed trippy, colorful shapes and designs. The visuals of the show itself were unlike anything that I have ever seen.
Of Montreal’s setlist was a combination of old fan favorites and songs from their new album that was released only this month. Their odd music complemented the theatrics of the show. Of Montreal closed with the song “She’s a Rejector” from their 2007 album, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?. The unforgettable show ended with Barnes, along with the crowd, chanting the lines, ”Oh no, she’s a rejecter / I must protect myself / No, no, I can’t, I can’t, I can’t.”
Out of the one hundred odd bands I’ve seen live in my twenty-one years, of Montreal was by far the most entertaining act. If the band is ever in your area, I would highly suggest checking them out – and be prepared to experience a visual and musical show unlike any other.