Athens-based musician Kevin Barnes has had a prolific three decades as “of Montreal” and even 2020 could not fully slow the artist down. Recording the record “UR FUN” entirely solo once again with a sound infusing 80s glam and synthpop, the album dropped in January 2020, meaning the band was not able to properly tour until 2021. However, the musician never one to rest on their laurels self-released and recorded “I Feel Safe with You, Trash” a far more avant-garde portrait of an artist in self-isolation in March 2020. As part of their tour around their Savannah Stopover performance, of Montreal played at The Abbey in Downtown Orlando.
Someday River provides local support on this show with an extremely eclectic sound that infuses the indie rock sounds of The Shins and Modest Mouse with the more jam sensibilities of bands like Phish. With an opening slot, the band packed a tight 15 minute set that displayed a versatile performance ready for an outdoor music festival.
Christina Schneider’s band as Locate S,1 is an upbeat funk-rock romp which is supported by the “of Montreal” crew. Kevin Barnes, Clayton Rychlik, Jojo Glidewell, Davey Pierce bring an undeniable throughline that pinpoints the similar musical references that Schneider uses in her music. Previously, I saw Schneider open for “of Montreal” as Christina Schneider’s Genius Grant whose sound was far more straightforward indie rock, but as Locate S,1 her music has transformed immensely. This may also be due in part to her romantic relationship with Kevin Barnes, where both musicians have this symbiotic relationships playing a muse to one another’s work with Schneider appearing on the album art for “UR FUN” and even being referenced by name in their songs, while Barnes’s signature melodic bass lines weave their way beneath Schneider’s sirene whisper soft vocals.
Of Montreal’s shows take the format of a concert and transform the stage show into an abstract theatrical performance, with the band being introduced by an emcee known only as Lanc, who proselytizes on a seemingly nonsensical rant about the strangers around them. The show’s setlist regularly uses the band’s hallmark record “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?” as a framework, beginning with “Suffer for Fashion” before diving into cuts from their two latest records. As a musical chameleon, Barnes curates the aesthetics of the show around the sound of the record. From “Lousy With Sylvianbriar” being inspired by Southern rock to the EDM sound of “Innocence Reaches” the live performance on the “UR FUN” tour features the costumed ensemble in morphsuits with massive skull puppets while Barnes dressed in a clashing pattern harlequin dress. In the second act of the show, the band played some cuts from “Trash” before playing classics like the polarizing fan favorite “Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and Other Games)” that garnered the band their most mainstream attention from, of all things, its use in an Outback Steakhouse commercial.
Suffer for Fashion
Get God’s Attention (By Being an Atheist)
You’ve Had Me Everywhere
I Feel Ya’ Strutter
20th Century Schizofriendic Revengeoid Man
Gypsy That Remains
Now That’s What I Call Freewave
Don’t Let Me Die in America
She’s a Rejecter
Bunny Ain’t No Kind of Rider
Wraith Pinned to the Mist (and Other Games)
Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse
Peace to All Freaks
The Party’s Crashing Us