Thursday, January 22, 2009

of Montreal review

From: Amsterdam Weekly Blog
Despite of Montreal's support act, Casiokids filling Paradiso's small hall back in December, the Norwegians began playing to a relatively empty room, but soon punters poured in. In the large hall their sound seemed more dense than in the smaller space upstairs and what started a little shaky built into a set with casios pumping out rave riffs, cowbells echoing The Rapture and indecipherable falsettos in their native tongue. They may not have won over the entire crowd but by the end, the hall was near full and moving as the band enjoyed every minute. As of Montreal's support all around Europe throughout January, 2009 could be a great year for Casiokids.

Having not seen of Montreal before, I expected a show not only full of campy flamboyance and grandeur but pomposity and perfectionism that artists like Kevin Barnes can sometimes carry as baggage. Perfectionism where ill-measured tempos are the cause of mid-song stoppages, where fans take too many camera-photos for his liking and "can I have more Guitar Three in Fold-back Four?" can ruin the show. Well to the first two; of flamboyance and grandeur, I say "and then some". But to pedantic on-stage tantrums over trivial shit the average punter won't hear, an apology is in order.

On the contrary, Barnes seemed humble with his stage presence, allowing a chaotic indie-arena spectacular to ensue around him. Admittedly, he's no wallflower, dressed to impress with costume changes and all the while displaying both vocal talents and persona, but the show was indeed bigger than him. With tripped-out animation on the projector screen, Guitarist Bryan Poole carrying the singed wings of the Angel of Death on his back and some pretty sweet white Raybans, a lion for a sound man and the most half-arsed interpretive dance troupe dressed as pigs, ninja mimes and gold Buddhas falling and swaying with piss-take and naff charm, in and out of the band members, there was plenty to look at.

As for rock n roll, the upbeat songs rolled into each other with only the slightest nod between the band, fuzzed out poptastic tunes one after another, most of which came from Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer and latest Skeletal Lamping. There was the indie-disco of "Id Engager" and "Suffer for Fashion" as stand outs that got the crowd moving, and the delightful "Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider" with its wonderful line 'To me you're just some faggy girl and I need a lover with soul power, you ain't got no soul power'.

In closing, modesty shone through again as, rather than doing their biggest hit, they opted for the biggest hit – a chaotically loud, balls to the wall version of "Smells Like Teen Spirit". While electronic beats took the place of the drum kit for half the show, on "Teen Spirit" the skins thundered down, Poole shredded and even keyboardist Dottie Alexander picked up the axe for a wall of fuzz – four guitars blazing. The audience were sent back to '91, crowd surfing and moshing with teen-abandon to embrace what probably 99% of us never witnessed in real life. While I've heard my unfair share of pub acts crucifying the classic it was the best damn cover band I could imagine, all the way to the final feedback and guitar throwing & catching schtick displayed by both Barnes and Poole (remember when Novoselic forgot to catch at 92s VMAs and it knocked him out, re-lived here by Novoselic himself.)
We’re only 22 days in so I might be counting my chickens'n all that but of Montreal are definitely in the front running for gig of the year.

If you missed the show catch them at the Tivoli at Utrecht tomorrow night or last night's show on the Fabchannel soon.

And to Matthew, apologies for ruining the surprise ending of the night but you asked for a review. Maybe in Glasgow they'll do "Lithium" or "the Degrassi theme".

of Montreal mySpace
Casiokids mySpace

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