We’d given fair warning about of Montreal’s Skeletal Lamping stage setup, but we weren’t prepared for all the stops they pulled out for their show this past Friday at Roseland, NYC. Like, for instance: By now you may have heard that Kevin Barnes sang “St. Exquisite’s Confessions” while sitting on and stroking a white horse. Understandably, the place lost it. (We have photos to prove it.) While up there on his steed, Barnes said “New York City, of Montreal has arrived!” That said, no other city should expect the horse, it’s not on their rider — this was a NYC-only treat.

Most of the show ran without a stop, occasional extended musical passages filling out the space when Barnes had to run backstage to change costumes or prepare himself to be hung from a noose (he was really hanging, it was freaky — someone said they saw a cord, but still). Most songs had sketches to accompany them, involving a troupe of rather adept actors in full-on, ever-shifting costumes. The sketches were associated to songs’ lyrical themes: There was a military scene; a crazy beach party with a musclehead and a roller girl, and a girl who came out and stroked herself; Kevin as a centaur getting the shaft from two damsels who preferred his brother as fife-playing satyr (this related to “Beware Our Nubile Miscreants” — “you only like him ’cause he’s sexually appealing,” etc.), which devolved into an orgy scene, the damsels and the fife player erotically eating fruit and squirting juices on themselves and writhing under red lights, pretty intense; there was an onstage suicide, a bunch of masked demons convincing Barnes to swallow pills and inject himself and blow his head off with a gun and then hang himself in the noose; Barnes dressed as a Cardinal and lording over a prisoner brought to him by pig-headed and parrot-headed guards. And so on. When the frock costume came off, Kevin was wearing nothing but gold short shorts. The demons rubbed him in red body paint, which he wore for the remainder.

The main set’s big finish had a coffin wheeled out onto stage, and from it emerged Barnes, covered in shaving cream. After the song, he said “I want to give you a hug!” and ran and hugged the first row. (The last photo on the next page is of the kids right after they got hugged, smiling away and covered in shaving cream.) We had no idea how they could possibly top that, but they managed it with a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” Andrew from MGMT was on that. The place went apeshit. Only Nirvana has played it better. Take a look and listen:

“She’s A Rejector”

“A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger”

“Smells Like Teen Spirit”

All photos by Amrit Singh…

Fluxblog was there and offers a spot on and well-framed assessment. If you want musical accompaniment while you look at the photos, here’s an NPR stream from of Montreal’s show in D.C. Remember, they didn’t get a horse.

NYC’s setlist (via Fluxblog):
01 “Id Engager”
02 “So Begins Our Alabee”
03 “Triphallus, To Punctuate!”
04 “She’s A Rejecter”
05 “For Our Elegant Caste”
06 “Touched Something’s Hollow”
07 “An Eluardian Instance”
08 “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean Curse”
09 “Gallery Piece”
10 “Wraith Pinned To The Mist and Other Games”
11 “Women’s Studies Victims”
12 “St. Exquisite’s Confessions”
13 “Eros’ Entropic Tundra”
14 “Nonpareil of Favor”
15 “October Is Eternal”
16 “Wicked Wisdom”
17 “Disconnect The Dots”
18 “Knight Rider”
19 “And I’ve Seen A Bloody Shadow”
20 “Plastis Wafers”
21 “Beware Our Nubile Miscreants”
22 “Mingusings”
23 “A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger”
24 “Smells Like Teen Spirit”
25 “Gronlandic Edit”

Comments (55)
  1. wow, this band has turned into a total fucking joke.

  2. cocky  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    I agree, this is some stupid shit.

  3. seth  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    yep. they’ve lost me.

  4. wow. were we at the same show guys? i thought it was, hands down, one of the best productions i’ve ever seen. never a dull moment. totally absurd. totally awesome. bob guccione would be proud.

  5. kurt  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    shit. yeah, they’ve lost it and i’d pay to go see them lose it.

  6. Chris K  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    This show was fucking phenomenal, quite possibly the best show I’ve ever been to. A true spectacle for the ears and the eyes. You first few posters have no taste. Go run along and listen to whatever boring bands you like.

    • seth  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

      i didn’t say i thought it was a joke or that i thought it was stupid. that was the first two guys. i just said that they’ve lost me.

      i think it is interesting and probably incredibly entertaining. I saw them last year on their hissing fauna tour. it was pretty incredible. however, it was just a spectacle and didn’t connect with me in any way. kinda like their music.

      sorry, i guess i’ll listen to boring bands that don’t pull their penis out on stage.

  7. shane  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    this makes me really want to see them live; it looks both hysterical and ridiculous.

    i wonder how much all of this costs. i guess at first it looks really expensive, but if you look more closely it all seems sort of low budget. but, i dunno, in packaging and stage performance, you can’t say that they aren’t setting themselves apart.

  8. wowz. so excited for Philly, halloween. way too excited.
    this is gonna be fucking grand!! anyone live in philly that likes couchsurfers? click my link and email me!!!!!

  9. Daniel  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    At the end of the show in Asheville, Of Montreal came out on stage and said, “Thank you for letting us be who we are.” As weird as the show was, that sentiment will never be a “total fucking joke.” I will admit that the performance was a little awkward at first, but pretty soon you have to appreciate the imagination and planning that went into it.

    The addition of Ahmed to the band added more to the live show, both musically and performance-wise, than anything else, but the new noise rock elements are quite nice. I just really wish they had done Teen Spirit in Asheville.

  10. If there’s one thing that is right and true in this world, it’s Brian Poole’s sideburns. Goddamn.

  11. I love the Flaming Lips.

    • Greg  |   Posted on Oct 15th, 2008 0

      Right… and any band with an elaborate, eccentric stage show must be copping the Flaming Lips. Because no one did it earlier. No one at all.

      • scott  |   Posted on Oct 20th, 2008 0

        Ripping off the Flaming Lips? Nobody did elaborate shows before the Flaming Lips? Are you kidding me? Erasure, Marilyn Manson, Bjork, Pet Shop Boys, Pink Floyd and Alice Cooper i’m sure would beg to differ.

        Get off it and enjoy. Kevin & crew are the best thing going right now… it’s not new and not’s a copy of Flaming Lips. It’s simply rare.

  12. hfghf  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    oh lord, that poor horse. the screaming crowd was probably terrifying for that animal. someone call the ASPCA… also, someone tell of montreal that their albums are completely self indulgent and boring…

  13. yeegads  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    what the, covering smells like teens spirit and aping (or ripping off) the Lips rock circus act, overall annoyingly lame

  14. amazing  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    That show was incredible. Hands down the show of the year for me.

  15. bm  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    It is so obvious that the people who are putting this show down weren’t there. It was the best show I’ve been to in a long time. Pictures don’t do of Montreal shows justice. Of course it looks stupid if you didn’t actually see it play out or don’t even like them in the first place.

  16. griff  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    What a bunch of cocks.

  17. Best Of Montreal show i’ve ever been to. Their artistic expression keeps getting bigger and bigger onstage and I love it. So talented. Gah I wish I could see them live everyday. The NYC show was by far the most memorable show I’ve ever been to.

  18. Michael  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    Jeez, I can’t believe how polarizing of montreal has become.

    • ...  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

      It’s only polarizing between people who were there and people who weren’t. I’m betting people like the first couple posters would’ve had the time of their lives had they experienced it.

  19. ooo  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    Wow, Kevin Barnes is really losing his hair. He better soak it up now, because no one wants to see a bald man sing falsetto.

  20. I passed by Roseland on my way home from work that night. One thing struck me: Of Montreal fans are *young*. I don’t think I saw anyone older than 22 in line. Most of the kids looked even younger than that; I thought it was some Jersey emo-band show or something until I saw the marquee.

    Also, the line wrapped around the block; when did OM get so popular? Roseland is a big venue. Do they have a video on one of the MTVs or something?

    • Katey  |   Posted on Oct 16th, 2008 0

      Don’t worry, I was there and I’m older than 22. ;) I think its just the flashy clothing throwing the age off, there were apparently plenty of people old enough to appreciate the Nirvana.

      So I like to think.

  21. JamiroFan2000  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    To be honest, Of Montreal is just another evolutionary step for the Flaming Lips/Elephant 6 genre of “Psychedelic Crazy Indie Rock”, but an important step indeed. Yeah, the stageshow at every one of their gigs may be so “Queens Of The Stone Age” artsy-fartsy sound style and so over the top it would Wayne Coyne want to be a atheist, but their sound is sorely needed. In regards to the fans whom attend these gigs being so young, the internet is their “playing field for the ears”, so no big surprise here, I mean, have you seen how fricking young the fans at MGMT shows are…..I thought I was standing in line for casting of a fucking “Peter Pan” elementary school production! In any case, and lessening of my endless droning, Of Montreal are a great band, with a great and grandoise vision for performance art and inspirations and have a unique sound that deserve attention, aspiration for copying and applause for not just being “another mundane indie band looking for a confounding and beartrap big record label deal”. Nuff said!


  22. jeb wiseley  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    of montreal is a love or hate band. i love them, and everybody at that show loved them. i have never been apart of a crowd that was so affectionately engaged with a band. i have never seen a crowd move like that, i have never moved like that. one of the best shows i have ever seen! thank you of montreal!

  23. That poor horse looks frightened. A little unnecessary to bring a horse on stage like that. Funny about the Teen Spirit though.

  24. animalsarenotproperty  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    Great show – but KEEP LIVE ANIMALS OFF THE STAGE!!! What the f— is wrong with you Barnes? Work out your psychosexualgender issues all you want – it’s awesome. Bringing a horse out for four unnecessary minutes is not. The horse (I was 30 feet from it) didn’t so much look scared as numb -drugged up perhaps by those ‘chemicals’ Kevin likes to sing about. Anyone who cares contact the band, Polyvinyl, 230 publicity and tell them ANIMALS ARE NOT PROPERTY.

  25. JAck  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    I can’t believe anyone seriously expected Kevin not to turn this in to a production.

  26. I saw them last year during the Hissing Fauna tour. I don’t love them, I don’t hate them. It was fun for the hour or two I was there, and then it was over. Most of their albums have a select few songs that are noteworthy and I occasionally listen to them. That said, they are returning in a month or two and I’ll probably go.

  27. george  |   Posted on Oct 13th, 2008 0

    I could understand the argument that the band is “a total fucking joke” if they put on these theatrics and then created shitty music on top of that. That’s not the case here though. Why shouldn’t they create a fucking amazing stage show, as long as their music continues to sound phenomenal (which it does)?

  28. Nope  |   Posted on Oct 14th, 2008 0

    Their music sounds like the demos that ship with Garageband.

    Still, glad to see they’re somehow able to make it all interesting.

  29. i wish i were there once in my life.

  30. william  |   Posted on Oct 14th, 2008 0

    I don’t buy the whole “love it or hate it” argument. Kevin Barnes is a talented pop writer and makes catchy songs. It isn’t anything revolutionary, but it isn’t bad.

  31. gregalt  |   Posted on Oct 14th, 2008 0

    i’m sure that horse was a showbiz horse. there are low key animals that aren’t freaked out by crowds and noise that they use for operas and theater and stuff.

  32. moimoi  |   Posted on Oct 14th, 2008 0

    I gotta say, I was lukewarm on OM until I caught the show in DC. Since my conversion, I’ve been contemplating heading up to Philly. I agree with the posters who say you kinda had to be there (same with Flaming Lips). I’m no hippie, but I think such a great SHOW with great energy is a rare thing. Thanks for putting up the pics and links so I can relive the memory!

  33. so don’t go see this show high? it looks freaky as shit.

  34. alexandra   |   Posted on Oct 15th, 2008 0

    It is my horse and let me assure you he was fine. He was absolutely NOT drugged. Combine his laid-back personality with the fact he done it all. He’s been in movies, photo shoots and commercials. 99% of the time he is hanging out on the farm being lazy.

  35. Comfortably Smug  |   Posted on Oct 15th, 2008 0

    Why is that pelvic thrusting tiger not being discussed in great detail?

  36. Booty  |   Posted on Oct 17th, 2008 0

    I don’t see the big deal about the horse. They didn’t hurt or do anything to it, unless Kevin screwed it backstage, which is probable, but I doubt happened that night. He looked pooped after the concert.

  37. Man,

    Talk about making a MUST-SEE live show!

    Fantastic. I gotta see these guys live now.

    Thanks for posting the pics.



  38. Todd  |   Posted on Oct 20th, 2008 0

    Did he jump the horse over a shark?

  39. Michael Quirk  |   Posted on Oct 21st, 2008 0

    Well, I’m off to read some Baudrillard–you know, the stuff about meaningless spectacle?

  40. tom  |   Posted on Jan 12th, 2010 0

    wtf are these pictures all from ONE show??? WHAT! they look like they are having so much fun up there. ahhhhhhhhhhhh i wish i was in that band somehow…

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