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Written by Kevin Thomas

Walking into the Grey Eagle in Asheville, North Carolina, I realized that not many groups can bring together as eclectic of a crowd like Athens, Georgia’s of Montreal can. of Montreal’s die-hard fans arrived donning a vast array of glitter, leather, and geometric animal masks that alluded to the imaginative, dream-like show I was about to witness. Their perpetually dynamic sound has deeps roots in the 1970’s psychedelic pop scene, but has included facets of folk, glam rock, funk, and disco. “The band has had many different incarnations as a studio project,” said band member Nicholas “Dobby” Dobbratz. “Kevin’s the dude, he writes the songs, he makes the music. The live show is a group of people who love playing the music and who try to recreate the best version of a live performance possible. The studio is a whole other beast.”

From the first note, lead singer Kevin Barnes mesmerized the audience not only by his masterfully crafted experimental pop music, but also by the one-of-a-kind theatrics that Barnes and his brother David Barnes collaborate on and include in of Montreal’s live performances. From poodles headed women in American flag-printed leotards boxing each other to Abraham Lincoln dressed as the Flash dancing, I can honestly say that I did not expect anything I saw. Along with the performers, the Barnes brothers incorporate props and projected images to convert the venue into their own imagination. “A lot of it is trying to transform the stage into some sort of alternate world and keep the audience entertained so that their experience is building and building to a final, explosive climax,” David Barnes said.

Oh, was Barnes correct.  The performance was an indulgence of sensation that kept audience members in an hour-and-a-half long trance that I found difficult to escape. As someone who had only listened to of Montreal a handful of times, all aspects of the performance combined to form one great music experience that should not be passed up if given the chance.

of Montreal released their 13th album, Aureate Gloom, in March of 2015 under Polyvinyl Records.


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