What the Merry Pranksters set in motion with their acid tests 50 years ago mixing surreal visuals with psychedelic rock 'n' roll, the Athens, Georgia-based of Montreal have taken to another level — even if the audience's drug of choice at their Culture Room performance Friday night was craft beer.
At 10:15, a band walked on stage strumming their guitars, banging their drums, and tickling their keyboards, as a caped, masked man in a body suit hyped the audience with, "Every single person in the world is made up of the same molecules and atoms as every other person in the world. We're all made of the same atoms as the floor we stand on. It's only a matter of time before genetic engineering and robots change all that."
To great cheers, out came singer Kevin Barnes, his silky and well-conditioned hair and magenta shirt flowing. He played the guitar and sang in a more subdued fashion than is generally the case at of Montreal shows, allowing himself to stand out as the straight man amidst all kinds of shenanigans.
On the song "Bassem Sabry," stagehands surrounded Barnes holding white strips that they pushed toward and away from the audience, giving the video projections the illusion of being 3D.
Later, during "Beware Our Nubile Miscreants," the band was joined by two shapely dancers draped in American flags with masks of white wolves. The political streak intensified as an Abraham Lincoln wearing the costume of the superhero Flash joined the wolves to dance the can-can and Barnes asked the audience, "Do you all like Bernie Sanders?"
Cheers erupted for a split second before Barnes unleashed his punchline: "He used to strip here back in the day." Then the wolves took off their American flags to reveal massive papier mache breasts. A few songs later, for "Rave Segment," the dozen costumed characters lurking in the background entered the stage, including a skeleton with a Donald Trump mask, as they danced and threw streamers into the entertained masses.
After a brief charade during which Barnes claimed the show was over, two ghouls clad in all white pit the right and left sides of the room against each other to see who could cheer louder for an encore. A couple anarchic songs later, the trip was over, 90 minutes after it began.
Of Montreal seems to be playing a South Florida show once a year. Make sure you update your calendar reminders before their Spring 2017 gig.
Last Rites at the Jane Hotel
For Our Elegant Caste
Suffer for Fashion
Bunny Ain't No Kind of Rider
Beware Our Nubile Miscreants
Like Ashoka's Inferno of Memory
Rapture Rapes the Muses
The Party's Crashing Us
A Sentence of Sorts in Kongsvinger
She's a Rejecter
Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse