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“I need a lover with soul power, and you ain’t got not soooul power”

Oh dear- I must apologize for my absence in the blog world last week. It’s the strangest thing, I wrote a post about how boring my week was, saved it, but then never published it! This may be to your advantage, however, because all the good stuff happened after Wednesday anyway.

 

On Thursday, I heard that the tickets to the Of Montreal show were not, in fact, sold out, as I had believed. So I made the spontaneous decision that afternoon to nab some and join my friends. This turned out be one of the few instances where spontaneity served me well. The show was at the Roseland Theater, which is located right in the middle of downtown PDX. It’s a very attractive venue- the inside sort of looks like a rock ‘n’ roll art gallery. The stage is upstairs, in a standing-room-only-room. The term “room” seems unfitting because there wasn’t any of it. The place was packed! The opening band was a noise band from LA called HEALTH. Distorted guitars, haphazard thrashing bass, thunderous double-bass drums, duels on the toms, screaming and an occasional melodious interlude… I loved them. Most of the crowd- comprised of fragile hipsters and electro-pop lovers- wasn’t too into it. The energy they put off is killer, and totally got me siked for Of Montreal If you are interested in new, loud, seizure-inducing sound, be sure to check them out. www.myspace.com/healthmusicl_9e8272405bee8db7b7f19aa7e0166f73.jpg

 

It was another hour before Of Montreal came on… The smooth jazz they played between sets didn’t exactly prevent one from becoming antsy. But soon, we saw people in gold jumpsuits creeping across the stage, attempting to be inconspicuous as they took their places behind a screen. Colored lights and psychadelic graphics swirled around, and the band took their instruments, donned in; seventies-era Native American costume, Sergeant Pepper-reminiscent coat, bright orange stockings, tiger-head mask… The music starts, the crowd begins to gyrate en masse, as if we were all contained in a massive color-changing jello mold. This all came to a climax as charismatic front man, Kevin Barnes, took the stage. n567882041_994171_3440.jpgThe energy of the show stayed at this level without faltering until the very end of the last encore song, which was a magical rendition of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit”.  Of Montreal’s shows are unlike any other you will go to. They are incredibly theatrical, with a whole cast of dancers, countless costume changes, surrealist skits during songs, and lots of crowd participation.n567882041_994196_9511.jpg To name a few highlights: Kevin Barnes stripping to a metallic speedo, then reemerging covered in shaving cream,n567882041_994205_1453.jpg several break-dancing buddhas, glitter, confetti, and feathers being showered on the crowd, and the ever-changing scenes enacted by the dancers. Unlike many shows in Portland, people who come to an Of Montreal show are not too cool to dance, and I don’t mean just nonchalant swaying back and forth- we got down with our bad selves! n1479420087_30143478_5654.jpgI thought I might pass out of dehydration at one point, but it was- in all truth- the most fun I have ever had at a show.n567882041_994214_9070.jpgn567882041_994217_2080.jpg

 

The weekend was more low-key. On Saturday I went to northeast PDX with some pals to eat at an incredible breakfast/lunch place called Gravy. They make delicious vegetarian gravy and an oatmeal brulee! My friend, Dick, is a very talented photographer and snapped this picture after I almost got hit by the MAX train.n567882041_1001627_5685.jpg

 

I hope everyone has safe travels and a lovely Thanksgiving! Write me about New York Times crossword puzzles, sleet (is it snow or rain?) or how vegetarians don’t need tryptophan as an excuse to nap a lot on T-day. kkucera@lclark.edu

25 November 2008