I Swallowed a Feather: A Review of Of Montreal at Neumos

Flashback to Halloween of 2015, and I’m choking on a feather at an Of Montreal show. I can’t breathe, I’m trying to keep up with the crowd, and am backing out of the dance pit to find a place I can regain my breath. I struggle. I gasp for air. I finally just swallow the clump of feathers and join right back in because there is no alternative; everyone in the room is dancing, I couldn’t stand still if I wanted to. It’s a year later and I am seeing Of Montreal for a second time, walking into Neumos on October 20. I almost feel like I am getting a second chance. Will the feather defeat me again? Will I leave victorious? Or will I be left gasping for breath? Read on to find out:

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Photo by Julia Olson

Openers TEEN were a pleasant surprise; judging from their SoundCloud and what little I could find of them online, I wasn’t expecting anything extraordinary. TEEN, a band of three sisters and an honorary sister/drummer, turned out to be a highlight of the night. Just a couple of badass gals and a synth, TEEN displayed a distinguished sound and held a presence capable of vying with the eccentric headliner. Peep their latest album, and check out a music video to get a flavor for the unique and powerful group.

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Photo by Julia Olson

After some brief pre-show stretches, we were ready to dance to some Of Montreal. Frontman Kevin Barnes didn’t make us wait long, as he opened with the dancey hit song, “It’s Different For Girls” off his new album, Let’s Relate. As the video below suggests, “It’s Different for Girls” was an excellent choice to get the crowd moving.

Barnes then moved through most of his new album, playing “Let’s #elate” and “My Fair Lady” within the first fifteen minutes of the set, not giving us a second to rest or get bored. Although his music was dense enough to fill the time, with poignant and relevant lyrics, Of Montreal also employed a variety of unique visuals to keep his audience fully entertained. We saw it all, from the giant possum rolling onstage, to the eight-foot-tall skeleton dancers, to the inflatable d*** sporting a Donald Trump mask, to the excessive use of light and projection; I felt like I was just constantly pointing and saying “WHAT IS THAT?”

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Photo by Julia Olson

In addition to his new material, Barnes also played some classics like “Wraith Pinned to the Mist and Other Games,” with all song choices keeping an upbeat and very dance-friendly vibe. Even a second time around, I was still blown away by the show Barnes was able to orchestrate with his music, and a general fun time.

Keep Up With Of Montreal: Facebook | Website


JULIA OLSON | Oh yeah, I swallowed a feather again | KXSU Head Reporter

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