gig reviews

of Montreal / Calvin Love

Where: The Fleece // When: 17/02/2014

by Dan Tuesday

of Montreal

The night got underway with Calvin Love providing a set layered in Berlin-era Bowie synthesiser layers and pulsating bass, the combination setting a solid and unexpected foundation for the reverb heavy guitar that strayed between sultry solos and surf rock with surprising ease. The band clearly revelled in the soulful side of eighties pop, but the short and sweet nature of the songs made sure things never slipped into self-indulgence whilst the restrained drums provided a steady drive throughout, before having the chance to break out towards the end in a satisfyingly loud ending.

of Montreal opened in a typically theatrical manner with the audience being encouraged to call lead singer and mastermind, Kevin Barnes, to the stage which he eventually did with a cape and a flourish to kick off a set that would swing between R-Kelly sex jams (their words, not mine), indie rock, psychedelia, Prince style grooves (love purses, anyone?) all strung together under the guise of unashamedly catchy pop songs. The band, decked out in dapper whites, proved to be more than a match for Barne’s eclectic sounds allowing their leader to fully embrace the role of frontman and even allowing space for a cheeky costume change.

All this energy cumulated in the slow build kraut-rock drones of ‘The Past is a Grotesque Animal’ which, when combined with the suitably psychedelic light show, provided an awe-inspiring climax to the show. The still captivated audience very sweetly attempted a chant of the band’s name (too many syllables it would seem) and eventually settled with general noise, enough to encourage the band to return for a three song rocking encore.

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