October 24, 2008 – I could tell you that there were dancing Buddhas, mythical creatures, a feather-cannon, and Kevin Barnes in all manner of costume (and lack thereof) in Of Montreal's epically theatrical performance at the Pageant. I could compare their show to a kaleidoscopic acid trip or some other liminal space of perception.
However, there are really no words that can adequately describe what Of Montreal is doing on stage these days. As such, these images will have to suffice.
The encore included a totally rockin' cover of Nirvana's “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” which had the pit heaving like nothing I've seen in a while.
Where do I begin? There's really almost no preparing for Of Montreal's live show. You'll have to take my word for it as someone who's photographed the band four times now. Almost anything can and will happen on stage.
Every year, the band's live show has gotten bigger – and yes, better, even in its ballooning, technicolor extravagance of 2008.
With costume changes for singer Kevin Barnes and the revolving cast of performers nearly ever song, the stage is in constant motion, so picking a subject for this show can be an interesting challenge.
Lighting for this show is very minimal, in part due to projections on three panels high at the back of the stage. The lighting treatment for this show was subdued, with subtle color washes from behind and nothing in the way of direct frontlighting.
This lighting scheme was actually very similar to last year's show in terms of it being low impact. Expecting this, I used a set of three speedlights for this performance, setting up two SB-600s on the far sides of the stage and using an SB-900 as the commander. Due to the great distances between the lights and the obtuse angle between them and the commander flash, they were more or less fired independently of one another, as Nikon's wireless flash system relies more or less on line of sight transmission.
I first shot Of Montreal in a dingey basement venue a couple of years ago as one of the very first shows I photographed. Kevin Barnes came out in a wedding dress, proposed to the 200-person audience, and then proceeded to consummate the relationship with an hour of party-time indie pop.
It's great to see the band's live show evolve into what it has become – a spectacle that I dare say may be giving The Flaming Lips a run for their money.