of Montreal @ Roseland Ballroom, NYC 10/10/08

By Amrit Singh / October 13, 2008 - 5:20 am

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”