Instead of spending this Halloween in the ITS parking structure grinding to some random mash up artist and drinking vodka out of a hidden flask, I drove out to Hollywood with some friends and saw my all-time favorite band play an incredibly epic show. How’s that for a change of plans?
Of Montreal announced their tour with Janelle Monàe over the summer and I was stoked to see a Los Angeles date. I’ve seen the band play every show that they’ve played within a 50 mile radius of me since my sophomore year of high school, the majority of them being in NYC. It also wasn’t the first time I’ve seen Janelle. In fact, I’ve accidently witnessed her show 3 times prior, as she randomly opened up for a bunch of shows I’ve seen over the past few years. I’m pretty well versed in both acts.
Monàe came on around 9:30 in classic feminine tuxedo attire and her trademark hair poof. Unfortunately the 3 tallest men in the world were standing in front of me so I couldn’t stare at her throughout the entire set. I did get to hear her though! She belted out several songs off her new album, The ArchAndroid, as well as a few of my old favorites from Metropolis. Highlights of her set were probably “Smile”, which she sings a cappella out to a wide-eyed audience and “Make the Bus” which of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes came out and joined her for. Of course the closing Tightrope was a hit, and I tried to dance around a bit in my 2-inch radius of space but you know how that goes.
I thought I was going to die when the lights came up for the main act, as I watched Dottie, BP, Davey, etc walk out. I should mention here that frontman and music genius Kevin Barnes may be my favorite human being, so seeing him again is always a rollercoaster of emotions for me. I was about 2 people deep from the barrier at the beginning, but we were all shuffled around during the 2nd song as we tried to reach Barnes’s when he demounted the stage. My real friends and crowd friends held down our fort though, and led the crowd behind us as we jumped around to pretty much every song. My personal favorites from the night included “Coquet Coquette,” “The Party’s Crashing Us,” “Gronlandic Edit,” and “Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse.” However, none of them could touch the encore, which I will discuss in a moment.
The set in its entirety was probably close to 2 hours… THAT’S SO LONG. They played a lot off of their new album, False Priest, although quite a bit off 2008’s Skeletal Lamping and 2007’s Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? To be honest, I would have preferred to hear more off of those previous albums, and the band only played a couple songs from Satanic Panic in the Attic and Sunlandic Twins, which was mildly upsetting.
However, the band completely won me back during their encore, which was the 11+ minute long anthem “The Past is a Grotesque Animal.” This song is my absolute favorite in the entire history of songs, so I sort of lost it. At this point I had also misplaced my voice, and the combination of the two, if you can picture it, involved my raspy voice being screamed out over the crowd while clenching fists and standing on tip-toes. I was pretty into it. Fortunately several of the people around me also knew all of the words and the correct emotional cues, so I wasn’t alone when I screeched out (nearly inaudibly) “THE MOUSEY GIRL SCREAMS VIOLENCE! VIOLENCE!” I’d be lying if I said I didn’t shed a tear. I’ve seen of Montreal a bunch of times over the years, and they haven’t played this song since the very first time I saw them at Irving Plaza, NY a millennium ago. I didn’t even have to beg for it, they just played it. It was amazing. IT WAS SO AMAZING. I want to tell you more about the show, but when it comes to set as epic as this one, you have to pick and choose. There is no doubt in my mind that this encore was the best I’ve ever seen in my existence, and it certainly cemented my of Montreal concert addiction.
Of course, if you’ve never seen them perform before, I should mention that the entire show is full of costume changes, performance art, sex, animal masks, onesies, guest appearances, sex, dancing, and more sex. It’s a beautiful thing, and if you EVER are in a city at the same time as of Montreal, I highly recommend you go, no matter the cost. It’s a visual and aural experience you really can’t get anywhere else.
I love you guys, thanks for the incredible show.
Dance or Die
make the Bus
Mushrooms & Roses
Suffer For Fashion
The Party’s Crashing Us
Our Riotous Defects
Like a Tourist
Girl Named Hello
You Do Mutilate?
Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider
She’s a Rejector
Around the Way
Heimsalsgate Like A Promethean Curse
Casualty Of You
For Our Elegant Caste
A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger
The Past is a Grotesque Animal
Reviewed by Ari Mygatt
Photos by Leila Z and Ari Mygatt