Of Montreal Fort York, Toronto ON, June 5
Published Jun 06, 2016"Those who fear nothing are here today," shouted a man masked in a muscle-print morph suit, while Of Montreal filed in behind him.
He was drumming up an introduction for bandleader Kevin Barnes, who soon paraded out to the stage in a frilly green dress and curly blonde wig. Such fancy dress was nothing new to longtime fans of the band, but one component of a performance that masterfully brought together music, theatre and humour in a fashion that Barnes has been exhibiting for 20 years.
Musically, Barnes and the band were nothing short of impressive in nailing the vocal harmonies of "The Party's Crashing Us" and "A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger," with the keyboard tandem of Jojo Glidewell and Nicolas Dobbratz bringing their synth-driven goodness to life. Epic, 12-minute burner "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal" was a highlight, given a new sense of urgency by having its electronic drumbeat replaced by one played in real time. Its psyched-out synth outro brought the set to a crashing close as Barnes thanked the crowd and waved goodbye in a flurry of strobe lights.
Barnes wasn't the only sight to behold onstage, as a cast of delightfully demented characters made appearances throughout the set. During "The Party's Crashing Us," two dog-headed figures dressed in American flag-patterned body suits came out to engage in a boxing match, officiated by the muscle-print suit man, before they both took the suits off to reveal hastily sewn-on breasts as part of another outfit.
The same figures went from wearing pyjamas with large crying baby heads to demon masks, dancing about the stage with a figure in a wedding dress during "Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider." A body-painted figure appeared for "The Past Is a Grotesque Animal," writhing around onstage before two more similarly painted people appeared from the wings to bring her an inflatable dinghy, sailing her out into the audience's flailing hands.