Of Montreal Flames Central, Calgary AB, June 18

Of Montreal Flames Central, Calgary AB, June 18
Photo: Chris Gee
 Kevin Barnes and co (a.k.a. Of Montreal) stormed Flames Central last night (June 18) as part of a stripped back Canadian tour that saw them toning down the theatrics and replacing them with a blend of DIY disco rock. Calgarians were in for a treat.
Local bands Windigo and Raleigh opened the night, the former's new lineup sounding incredibly energetic and cohesive. Raleigh were a seemingly odd choice for the second opener, as their intricate rhythms and soft vocals subdued the crowd. A sparse number of concertgoers appeared during these first two sets, but by the time Of Montreal took the stage, the room was humming with excitement.
Four members of the band strode onstage and immediately got the beat going. Then Barnes appeared, commanding the stage in glittery eye makeup and a blonde wig. The band launched into hit, "Id Engager," getting the crowd dancing from the first note. The set was highly energetic, with cuts from Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer? Like "Suffer For Fashion" and "Heimsdelgate Like A Promethean Curse" prompting crowd sing-alongs.
The band's performance was noticeably guitar-heavy, Barnes showing off his instrumental chops more than the theatrics he is known for. Occasionally the traditional rock arrangements bogged down the band's more pop oriented songs, but disco-influenced drumming and synths kept them in party mode. The musicians transitioned smoothly between tracks, and played tightly — impressive as their touring lineup tends to consist of cast of ever-changing players with Barnes serving as the sole constant.
Of Montreal performed a super fun collection of songs, bringing the funk, but doused with the spirit of an old school rock band. The less tech-heavy performance allowed concertgoers to see how far the band has come from its beginning as Barnes' solo project 20 years ago — and highlighted just how electric they remain.