Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Gig Review - Of Montreal, The Hi-Fi, Melbourne

Last Thursday, Shannon and I went to see Of Montreal. I didn't get to write a review of it immediately, and I think I'm glad. Looking back, I had a lot more fun, and learned a lot more about this band than I realized.

The venue itself was pretty cool, with a balcony (where the acoustics were terrible), a main floor with a staircase that you could camp out on connecting the two, and a pit in the center of the main floor, where the hardcore groupies laid claim. The show was close to, but not, sold out. The acoustics weren't perfect, and there was some reverb, but all in all, not too bad. My biggest complaint was that it appeared that the vocals were intentionally mixed down on about half the songs, as the other half sounded much better. Either that, or the sound guy was just a knucklehead.

I've yet to find the setlist online, which is too bad, because I didn't recognize a lot of the music. It was mostly older stuff, and frankly, I'm not that hardcore into them. But I might shift that way. The band was far more rock and far less electronic than I was expecting, despite one full time keyboard/synth and two part time (one was half drummer half synth, the other was all bass, half Pro Tools on his MacBook Pro). The two guitarists were quite good, and gave a much rougher sound to the music.

The music was good, and that's great, but what might have made this the most interesting was the sideshow going on. This is probably the closest that I'll ever get to a B-52's show, what with dead band members and all. There was neon, and hair, and leg warmers, and on stage sideshows, and God, did I mention neon? The whole show was basically played together, with no tuning breaks, or breaks where the band was busy chatting with the crowd. They played through, unless there was some on stage shenanigans with the tiger in the white tux jacket (yes, with tails). Oh, he was also the video guy - those two things seemed to be his job - who did all the video going on behind the band, which was a mix of the acid induced drawings that is typical in their music videos and album art, and video from mic stand mounted cameras, that was being fed through something that seemed to have the effects of a synth for video.

All in all, and somewhat in retrospect, I really enjoyed this show, and I recommend that you check them out in a town near you. Go for the spectacle if nothing else - the fans are as enjoyable as the band in that regard. Oh, also, they are extremely loud. Earplugs recommended.

Update 1: Here are some photos from the night. Still looking for a setlist...

Update 2: Download a recording of the show.

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