Of Montreal Performs at the Bind Pig in Ann Arbor, Michigan

Talent and Showmanship

Of Montreal always puts on a great show, and this concert was no exception. Despite the hit or miss sound setup at the Bind Pig, Of Montreal rocked the venue. The band, which actually hails from Athens, Georgia, put out a huge wall of sound, interspersing new songs with favorites from their last album, The Sunlandic Twins. The crowd seemed most happy and danced enthusiastically when they could sing along, probably because the new songs had a bit of an angrier feel than their usual, happy-go-lucky fare. Of Montreal often changes beats while playing their songs live, slowing down and speeding up their infectious rhythms, but because they held the rapt attention of their audience, the crowd responded warmly.

It’s obvious just how much fun Of Montreal has on stage; they look like a classic glam rock band decked out in polyester, excessive eyeliner, and body glitter. Kevin Barnes began the set by slowly marching out on stage in full bridal costume, complete with veil and bottle of champagne, while the rest of the band played eerie riffs from “Here Comes the Bride.” After asking Ann Arbor to marry him, Barnes got down on bended knee and slid a ring onto the finger of an audience member in the front row. The crowd went nuts, and Barnes completed the ceremony by taking a generous chug of his champagne.

Of Montreal played a long set, but they wore giant grins through their whole performance. Likewise, the energy of the room never faltered, and the clumsy dancing of the indie rock kids seemed to only get more enthusiastic and joyful as the set stretched on. They took requests for their encore, and everyone seemed to only want more. When the band finally stopped playing after two hours, everyone was a sweaty mess and reluctant to call it a night.

The Opening Act?

The last time Of Montreal played the Bind Pig, their opening band consisted of two guys singing, playing cardboard instruments, and banging a miniature drum kit while their CD played the real music to their set. They draped a white sheet with spray-painted black letters displaying the band logo (MGMT, short for The Management), which looked like it had been made in their parents’ driveway. All their songs were about pretending to be rock stars and living a glamorous lifestyle, the irony of which was not lost on the audience. The Management were cute, charming, and hilarious, and strangely sounded great. If you ever have a chance to see one of The Management’s shows, I highly recommend not only going, but buying their album, too.

This time Of Montreal picked a real dud for an opener. After waiting what seemed like years in the hot, tightly packed room for something to happen, it slowly began to dawn on the audience that the guy making strange electronic sounds on the mixing boards was not performing an elaborate sound check; he was actually the entertainment. He did not introduce himself or make any attempt to connect with the crowd, so it was no surprise he received little applause and left the stage without fanfare. To write about him, I had to actually find out his name from Of Montreal’s website. For the record, it’s Fashion Flesh.

The Crowd

As with most all ages shows, the audience seemed to consist mainly of the high school and early college crowd. Of Montreal’s music does not easily lend itself to the shoving and moshing that occurs at hard rock shows, but the people at the front of the venue didn’t seem to notice, and they moshed and shoved with surprising force. The aggressiveness and rudeness of the audience even disturbed members of the band when articles of clothing were thrown at them.

Despite the unusual amount of roughness at Of Montreal’s recent show, this is not the norm when they perform. Always professional, even flying objects did not discourage or dampen their wholehearted performance, and were hailed as musical heroes when they left the stage.

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