by Holli Stephens
“I came out here filled with aggression to chase you through Philadelphia.” Dressed in a red morph suit and black top hat, a masked man entreated the audience to an anecdote on how “…we are all the same.” He ended by saying, “there are no strangers here tonight.” Simultaneously, Of Montreal made their way to the stage.
Opener Dream Tiger had just the right amount of sound and energy—with head thrashing trance beats and mind melting synths, her angelic yet powerful voice commanded each song she song. Her long black cover-up swayed as “soft skin” began and she continued to dominate over the clash of other instruments in the mix of her set.
“This is one of my favorite venues. It’s so beautiful in here.” It was shocking to see how much of a humble disposition Dream Tiger had right after she had sang “A Lover’s Regret”, a song that literally shook the floor of Union Transfer. Her energy only intensified as the audience responded with shouts of praise and approval.
Every bandmate in Of Montreal was dressed head to toe in white, and for good reason. Their set was just as eye-catching as it was musical. Psychedelic patterned visuals spouted out in every direction from a projector and covered the stage as well as the bandmates during the entirety of their set. At some points one couldn’t see where the visual ended and a band member began.
Of Montreal’s road crew was equally as involved in the performance. Dressed in white morph suits, they would bring out white circular, triangular, and square screens to put behind lead singer, Kevin Barnes. A projector would then illuminate on these sheets, sending a wave of patterned images on top of him.
Each song brought a new visual and roar of applause from the already jamming audience. The experience was almost rave-like in how an audience member couldn’t stop looking at all the crazy eyeballs and mandalas images being projected onstage. That being said, the visuals are a great place to start when defining Of Montreal’s sound. They combine every genre, from lo-fi, funk, rock and twee-pop to produce sound inspired by psychedelic bands of the 60s. Die-hard fans dressed in boas and face paint could be seen lining the front row of the crowded Union Transfer, but every audience member bobbed up and down as Barnes soared up to unrealistic notes accompanied by vocalist Rebecca Cash.
Lousy With Sylvianbriar was Of Montreal’s 12th studio album that was released in October of 2013. Shockingly, the concert repertoire of albums consisted of earlier material like “Id Engager” and “St. Exquisite’s Confessions” from the band’s ninth album, Skeletal Lamping and “Gronlandic Edit” and “Farberge Falls for Shuggie” from the eighth album called Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
A party vibe could be felt in Of Montreal’s four song encore that included three Lucha libre masked individuals who stage dived and danced throughout the songs. Dressed in a silver cape and crown, Jojo Glidewell glided from keyboard to keyboard as lead guitarist, Bennett Lewis thrashed his body around and into a three-minute solo of pure rock sound. After a crazy collection of strobe lights, bold colored visuals and masked individuals in blonde wigs, the set’s end was met with a roar of applause.