Review: Of Montreal at The Fox Theater in Oakland

Somehow, this review never made it up onto thecolorawesome after the show on July 25th, 2009. It was a great show, so I’m publishing the review, even if it is a few months late. – Paige

Of Montreal played the Fox Theater in Oakland last Saturday. I’d been a bit on the fence about going. I’d already seen, shot and reviewed them twice since Skeletal Lamping was released last year. I decided if I could shoot the show I’d go, otherwise I’d take a pass. Lucky for me I was able to obtain a photo pass, so on Friday night I headed off into the sunset towards the Fox Theater in Oakland. It’s a drive I make often, and this was one of the easiest and most traffic free little road trips I’ve taken in a while. Although it’s only about a 40 mile drive, I often think of Matt’s endless miles across the country in the ice cream truck and consider myself lucky to have such a relatively short concert commute.

I was happy to get to the venue early because I was just as excited to see the opener Jon Brion. A few months ago I’d been chatting with Of Montreal’s publicist, Frank. He’d told me that band was so excited and so honored that Jon Brion would be opening in San Francisco. I didn’t know who Jon was, but Frank filled me in on what all the excitement was about , and told me it wasn’t to be missed. That man speaks the truth!

When Jon took the stage, I was nonplussed. Just one frumpy middle-aged guy and an acoustic guitar singing “Foolin’ Myself.” Nice, but this didn’t jive with what I was expecting. But soon I saw what Frank and Kevin were on about. By half-way though “Helter Skelter” I’d drunk the kool-aid. I was completely mesmerized as this gifted guy single-handedly whipped up and played a brand-spankin-new five-instrument interpretation of Helter Skelter. Really, truly, you must see this guy if you ever have the chance. If you happen to be in LA on a Friday night, you can catch him at his weekly gig at Largo.

Of Montreal was in fantastic form. In one of the rare bits of banter, Kevin let the audience know how happy he was to be back playing in America. They had just completed a European tour and were really excited to be back home.

I’ve written about the band’s crazy theatrical performances before. This one had fewer costume changes and almost no elaborate props, but a more interactive crowd, at least up front. There was crowd surfing by the band, and the audience. There were plenty of decorations; “Player 1” from the fan boards had asked fans to bring balloons, “It’s a party, we should contribute with our own decorations.” The band also contributed their own decorations of exploding feather cannons, glitter balloons, and confetti. Subliminal Twin from flickr came dolled up in beautiful face paint with a lovingly made David Barnes puppet on her hand that was proudly waved front and center throughout the entire set.

Kevin’s Prince Charming outfit was gorgeous. It was such a bummer that for most of the set the lighting was really poor (from a photographer’s point of view at least.). Often it was a blue wash which completely hid the pastel baby blue tones of his multi-layer costume. If someone could leave a comment with the name of those leather things that look like boot tops but are more like knightly leather leg warmers, my obsessive self would greatly appreciate it.

Let’s see.. what else… They played a new song, “Party Girl” with lots o’ spoken word lyrics. They covered Bat For Lashes “Daniel” too. If you want to see the setlist, I took a picture.

Jon Brion Set List

Foolin’ Myself
Why Do You Do This to Yourself
Girl I Knew
Over Our Heads
Helter Skelter/Only Shallow
Please Stay Away from Me
I Put a Spell on You/Around the World