Indie rock band perfects act

Only one band is able to rock their audience down to the ground only to throw them back up into the air through amazing sound and incredible theatrics.


of Montreal, who is actually from Athens, Georgia, played at Higher Ground Sept. 13.


The indie rock staple is known for their flamboyant and experimental live performances. The weird and wild symphony that audiences have come to expect spins differently every tour, as each one is uniquely designed and revamped with new dancers, costumes, and psychedelic animations.unnamed


When I saw of Montreal play at New Haven Connecticut’s Toad’s Place in 2013, the performance was heavily based around colorful visuals conveying a scene of chaos and mutilation. A mechanical flying ship was featured on stage and cannons rained feathers down on the ecstatic audience. The band’s energy was soaring and strained, an orgy of overstimulation and disassociation.


This most recent show struck me as much more tied together in the vocals and stage presence of frontman Kevin Barnes, who performs in drag and takes no less than 5 costume changes per show.


“The visuals felt like we were at an art museum,” sophomore Bridget Carsky said. “It was the weirdest, most beautiful, strange and exotic concert I’ve ever seen at Higher Ground.”


The band’s signature style incorporates infectious hooks into 70’s-inspired rock, psychedelia combined with Barnes’ elaborate emotional poetry. “Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?,” the band’s 2007 album, best exemplifies their weird disco soundscapes against tortured, theatrical breakup music.


While of Montreal’s first albums evoked the cheery yet ominous pop of the Beach Boys, their later works have shifted towards progressive glam rock in the style of Queen, and the rockstar power of David Bowie.  Their latest record, “Innocence Reaches,” sees a return to the electronic fabric of their mid-2000’s sound.


At Higher Ground, Barnes performed accompanied by a full band as well as faceless, glittering dancers, costumes dripping fabric, and balloons filling in the air. He performed classic songs and crowd favorites such as “The Party’s Crashing Us,” and “Wrath Pinned onto the Mist,” which famously lulls, “let’s pretend we don’t exist… Let’s pretend we’re in Antarctica.”


The set was cohesive and complete, perhaps better refined and more fun and flirtatious in comparison to the emotional, ego-dripping set I witnessed in 2013.


Barnes’ genre-bending tunes and creative stage presence command a unique energy from the crowd. of Montreal live is an experience of release and celebration.


“Definitely a thrilling performance,” sophomore Vanessa Palermo said. “I was captivated by both the show and music. The energy of the musicians translated so well into the audience, everyone seemed to be feeling it in sync.”