Two years ago, Athens, GA twee-funk stars Of Montreal were set to play in the city before cancelling last minute. If the barely there crowd at Olympic Community Hall was any indication, maybe they didn't sell as many tickets as they thought they would.
Either way, when Kevin Barnes and co. made their way to the stage for their long-awaited debut, it was clear those in attendance were ready to see a spectacle.
Lashing into Hissing Fauna album opener "Suffer for Fashion," Barnes waved his angular mop-top to and fro, flamboyantly gyrating with his guitar as the band provided backup harmonies to his eunuch-meets-David Bowie yowl. From there, the band seamlessly blended into "Sink in the Seine" and "Cato as a Pun," while stagehands in masked body suits unleashed balloon after balloon into the surprisingly mellow crowd.
But after a quick set of hits, the band began to draw heavily on some of their least memorable tunes — including the indulgent mess that was 2012's Paralytic Stalks — and ignoring crowd favourites off 2010's critically acclaimed False Priest.
Returning for an encore, Of Montreal finished up where they left off at the start of the show, closing up Side 1 of Hissing Fauna with an extendedly funky "Gronlandic Edit," courtesy of bassist Davey Pierce. Following "Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse," the band quickly left the stage, Barnes engaging the crowd for the first time all evening with a simple "Thank you."
Of Montreal had played for under an hour. In the blink of an eye, the festival headliners had left the building, disappointing fans that had been waiting years to finally see them.
To see Exclaim!'s Halifax Pop Explosion photo gallery, courtesy of Lindsay Duncan, head here.