Of Montreal @ Roseland Ballrom, NYC – pics
photos by Kurt Christensen, words by Andrew Frisicano
I was able to easily grab tickets at the door of Of Montreal‘s Friday night show at Roseland Ballroom. Though Love is All had already finished their opening set before I made my way to the main room, I caught their cover of “I Ran (So Far Away),” which I also heard at their Market Hotel show over the summer, from the entrance way.
Most notably, Of Montreal made good on their promise to amp up their stage show. Standing on a field of risers and platforms, the band performed before a row of projectors while a troupe of costumed actors wheeled in props and sets to illustrate the night’s songs and transitions. The various background tableaux ranged from a Western saloon scene to the life, death, and resurrection of Kevin Barnes (or at least his onstage persona Georgie Fruit), both distracting from and adding to the music at different points in the night.
The peak of the onstage theatrics came mid-set during “St. Exquisite’s Confessions,” when Kevin Barnes mounted a nervous looking white pony (editor’s note: WTF??), singing the song’s first minute or so from atop it.
For whatever reason, most of the crowd stood feet planted, arms-crossed, moving only when provoked by “She’s a Rejector” and other older songs. I suspect that the lackluster response stemmed from unfamiliarity with the mostly-new Skeletal Lamping material (the album isn’t actually out until Oct 21, though copies could be had at the merch table) paired with the impersonality of the huge room.
For the encore, the band performed an unironic, straight ahead cover of “Smells like Teen Spirit” before closing with “Gronlandic Edit.” Overall, the show was a good time, but lacked the communal party atmosphere of past Of Montreal shows I’ve been to.
More pictures below…