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Friday, September 2, 2011

Of Montreal: the most deliciously insane dream I've ever had

Thursday night was, without a doubt, a night of remarkable experiences. Not only did I get to see Of Montreal again for the first time in a year and a half, but I also had the chance to step across the threshold of the Georgia Theatre for the first time... ever. Shocking, I know, but it was utterly and completely worth the wait. What a truly unbelievable night!

Now, I'll save my description of the amazing Georgia Theatre for another time as the events of the night were so awe-inspiring, I can hardly do justice to everything in just one post. Suffice it to say, my ridiculous habit of getting to shows much too early finally paid off with this one. Minutes before the masses were let in, a few determined fans and I were lucky enough to find ourselves already at the foot of the stage, fully prepared for the night's festivities. To conserve our energy, we sat under the convenient stage overhang, not budging from our highly coveted (and as past experience has taught us, likely dangerous) positions. To my great surprise and joy, I soon discovered that my particular chosen space was one of the best in the house.

When a cheer arose from the standing crowd, we, the understagelings, emerged from beneath the overhang to claim our spots as the music began. The Gold Party, a band I've seen and enjoyed at many an Athfest, kicked off the show with with their electronic and unique indie tunes. Straight away, they had the crowd bobbing and clapping their hands in time as the band played. About halfway through, guest musicians Karolyn (sporting yet another gorgeous dress - I swear, I am obsessed with her wardrobe) and Andrew of Powerkompany added a lovely taste of the strings to Gold Party's biggest hits. What a great hint of the fun that was to come!

Moments later, the eager, glitter-covered masses greeted the soft, funk-tinged, electro-indie sound of Yip Deceiver. A side project featuring Of Montreal's Davey Pierce, Nicolas Dobbratz, and Clayton Rychlik with Paul Nunn, they knew just how to keep the crowd enthused. Between their hilariously ridiculous banter, their high energy, mood-boosting tunes, and their penchant for rocking the extreme edge of the stage right in front of their fans, the crowd was wild for their style, leaping about with great zeal. Then, to top off all the madness, the lead singer instructed the fans to imagine what he would look like naked before jumping off the stage to sing in the middle of the dance floor packed with people. Utterly awesome, indeed.

After Yip Deceiver finished their set, the sea of fans arrayed in feathers, sequins, and hats in every style awaited the grand finale of the night, the surreal dessert to complete the unbelievable feast of tunes, Of Montreal. Changing it up from the last time I saw them, the band launched immediately into their first tune the moment they stepped onstage, forgoing any sort of fanfare... for a second, at least. Then bright displays of red, white, and blue exploded onto the screen behind them as flag-garbed players danced, leapt, and fought their way onstage. They followed this with their iconic hit, "Wraith Pinned to the Mist [etc]" before tossing ribbons of long balloons and handfuls of glitter into the crowd. As winged birds and angels fluttered through the air, the band members began playing at the very edge of the stages, touching our hands as they wove their unique tunes and lyrics into sustenance for our desiring ears.

Hands down, one of my favorite parts of the show was the defeat of the dragon-like monster. Monster, you ask? I kid you not. During one of the songs, lead singer Kevin Barnes killed a long, many-footed giant of a monster with a bit of fancy swordwork before being subsequently knighted by a man sporting a long white wig. Wow, how's that for unexpected? But that certainly wasn't the last of the surprises. Stripping seemed to be an unofficial theme of the night, with a few glittery caped creatures revealing massive fake boobs beneath their cloaks, bushels of fake money being thrown to the fans, and two girls in tiny little outfits dancing suggestively over the faces of those at the very front of the crowd during a song about a crazy girl. In fact, that particular performance was dripping with lust as Mr. Barnes and the girls simulated a delightfully shocking threesome as he sang. Even better of a moment though, was when, a short while later, he took the hand of a girl three people down from me in the audience and sang just to her as she mouthed the words right back to him. It was quite touching (and for someone who attends as many shows as I do, that's saying something)! Then, after a few pigs showed up, some idol worshipping went down, a wrestling match happened, and a burst of streamers flew threw the air, the show was over... Right? No, of course it wasn't! You can't forget the encore.

Ushered back onstage by what could only be described as skeletal aliens in pajamas, the band began their three song encore set with "For Our Elegant Caste," one of my very favorites. Hey, don't judge me. As the band approached the end of their spectacular musical adventure, fire worshippers pranced around and a raft holding several members of the band floated across the crowd before returning to the stage. Finally, the whole band transferred their powers to their violinist K Ishibashi, who was to play an after-show set, as the members kneeled in awe of his skills.

Wow, I honestly cannot believe that they succeeded in creating an even more surreal and unbelievable show than the one I saw so long ago, but indeed, they surpassed themselves magnificently. Theirs is a live show and an experience and a memory that every band should aspire to create. I'm already dying to see them again!

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