Of Montreal and Janelle Monáe at the Palladium, Los Angeles, CA | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Janelle Monáe, of Montreal

of Montreal and Janelle Monáe at the Palladium, Los Angeles, CA, October 31st, 2010

Nov 04, 2010 Photography by Laura Studarus Web Exclusive
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Someone needs to cast of Montreal bandleader Kevin Barnes in a revival of Rocky Horror Picture Show revue. After 12 years of gender bending, Technicolor, costumed pop, this seems like the only logical career arc. It probably goes without saying that seeing of Montreal live in concert is a damn good time.

While every day in of Montreal land is Halloween, their October 30th stop in Los Angeles proved to be a boon for the audience—a large portion that were eager to flaunt their own seasonal get-ups. The venue was transformed into a costume ball, as glowing men, several DJ Lance Rocks, Frida Kahlo, and a small pack of zombies roamed danced to the equally costumed band’s tunes.

The set—largely comprised of this year’s False Priest—was filled with of Montreal’s trademark high energy, Barnes dashing from side-to-side of the stage like an over sugared toddler. When not singing, he acted as master of ceremonies to an increasingly weird set of visuals—costumed dancers getting their first lessons in making out, pig sex (making for the least kosher set of the year), and box disappearing acts. “We want you to get to know us,” he crooned seductively. “We don’t like dairy, but we like rollercoaster. We don’t like videogames, but we like role-play.” Part of me was really hoping that wasn’t true. Don’t we all want to believe Barnes’ home life involves multiple costume changes and backup dancers?

A giddy experience of pop at its sugar-spun Studio 54 finest, in the end the set only had two real downfalls. 1) It seems a waste that opener Janelle Monáe was not brought out to perform False Priest duet, “Enemy Gene.” Why squander what would have been a chance for a truly unique live musical experience? (After all, isn’t of Montreal all about unique?) 2) After an incredibly tight set, Barnes and chose to end with “The Past Is a Grotesque Animal,” an noise-fest that went on three times to long and left the audience that hadn’t fled holding their ears. It seemed far too indulgent an end.

The same could not be said opener Janelle Monáe, whose all too brief set was the very epitome of well structured. It takes a strong performer to hang with the likes of of Montreal—but it was a Herculean task the soul, funk, R&B, and pop songstress was more than prepared for. Her set—comprised heavily of tracks off debut full-length The ArchAndroid—also contained a fair amount of theatrics: dancing nuns, a preshow video, and an onstage painting session among them. There’s no arguing that it was a schtick, but there was also no arguing it worked. While of Montreal’s set was a no-hold bared funfest, the music often seemed secondary to the increasingly wacky set of visuals. Monáe, while engaging and fun to watch, never let the visuals detract from her strong musicality. Ending the set with standout single “Tightrope,” she took her bows to an ecstatic—near euphoric—audience. It was enough to make one wonder if on the next trek the bands make together the opener/main act dynamic might be reversed.

of Montreal set list:

Coquet Coquette

Suffer for Fashion

The Party’s Crashing Us

Our Riotous Defects

Like a Tourist

Sex Karma

Girl Named Hello

Plastis Wafer

Hydra Fancies

Gronlandic Edit

You Do Mutilate?

Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider

She’s a Rejecter

Around the Way

Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse

Casualty of You

For Our Elegant Caste

A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger


The Past Is a Grotesque Animal




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