OF MONTREAL + Poorfolk @ La Sala Rossa

By Dan - Rocks In Your Head - 04/24/2005

It's not often we get to experience an Athens, GA band in concert, in Montreal, in the spring time. But when it happens, rest assured that yours truly will be there, without a doubt

Kevin Barnes and his troupe of multi-instrumentalists had a ball Sunday night, swapping guitars for keys and drums for bells, all night long. The sound was tightly knit across a swarm of beats and pulses, an indication of the increasingly 'programmed' element to their new approach. It's not as if the old ways have long since departed. Rather, Barnes has appropriated his older, somewhat outdated 60's-influenced pop constructions and rearticulated them for a new public; a public which has one foot on the dance floor and the other on the couch, kicking back and eager to trip out into some weird psychedelic Garden of Eden. I'll meet you there, man

Seriously though, these guys can rock. Admittedly, the crowd seemed a little lacklustre, perhaps a result of attending the Arcade Fire show the night before (I did see a bunch of cross-over fans). Regardless, Of Montreal delighted the audience with a bunch of classics from their last album (2004's Satanic Panic in the Attic) and threw in a few from the latest psych-rock offering (2005's Sunlandic Twins). Unfortunately nothing from the classic Gay Parade era, but then again, excerpts from that album might have thrown the night off-kilter.

It feels good to know that the Athens scene is playing itself out with such style and flair, given that most of the bands from that scene have since disbanded (Masters of the Hemisphere, Neutral Milk Hotel and Olivia Tremor Control to name but a few). Make no mistake though; as long as key members/songwriters the likes of Kevin Barnes and William Cullen Hart (from OTC) continue in a tradition of innovation and musical progress deeply rooted in the sixties era -- when the rules were more often being broken than not -- then we can at least hope that some of the wacky material both live and on tape will rub off on the next generation of innovators. Just don't leave that job up to the Killers or any of the trendy bands in our midst.

Of Athens sounds pretty cool to the ears. Any takers?

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