Cold cold lamping
The crowd at The Cannery Ballroom Saturday night was wall-to-wall and decked out in perhaps the most excessive supply of face glitter we've ever encountered. Blame it on the nefarious Of Montreal Outback Steakhouse commercial if you will, but Saturday night's crowd just might have been the healthiest cross-section of Middle America ever to grace the Cannery: genuine middle-agers, fedora-topped hipsters, total bros and feather-adorned theater nerd teens.
Of Montreal proceeded to mount a performance that can best be described as The Flaming Lips for club kids and sexually curious teenagers. They were introduced by a tiger-masked, white-suited gentleman, who we're pretty certain manned a visual effects station for the rest of the night. O.M. started their set with "Let's Spend the Night Together," but we were disappointed to see that a sizable portion of the fresh-faced audience seemed uninspired and, dare we say, disappointed. Nevertheless, Kevin Barnes, adorned in a midriff-exposing, somewhat ill-fitting purple blazer, hopped about the stage energizing his bandmates. Unlike past shows, however, there was no stripping or bondage of any kind. Kinda tame, at least by Of Montreal standards.
Despite touring in support of Skeletal Lamping, O.M. busted out some material from other recent albums—especially Hissing Fauna—but we were disheartened to hear only a song or two from Sunlandic Twins and (as best we can recall from our boozy haze) nothing from Satanic Panic in the Attic. Their newer material occasionally smacks of Prince envy, but the four-on-the-floor beats and three massive projection screens—cluttered with images of revolving geometric patterns, trippy mounted-camera shots and floating tiger heads—were enough to keep us entertained.
The encore was perhaps the most pleasing turn of the evening—how could you go wrong playing the Zep's "Immigrant Song," Petty's "American Girl" and "Smells Like Teen Spirit"? Each time we thought we might split to beat the traffic, Barnes & Co. started in on yet another staggeringly well-played crowd-pleaser. It's nice to see that Of Montreal have successfully transcended their obscurity, because if America's going to have yet another household-name rock star, we could do a hell of a lot worse than Kevin Barnes.
What boys like
Sunday at 6 p.m. is not The Spin's usual start time for anything other than microwave dinner, so it was a little off-putting to find ourselves downtown at The Ryman for the Jonas Brothers. Yes, brothers Kevin, Joe and Nick, those ubiquitous tween dream sensations beloved by your sister, were in town for a "low-key" and "intimate" event. Still nursing some residual pain over never seeing Hanson during their late-'90s prime, we entered the Ryman armed with high hopes and an open mind.
After being introduced by Tim McGraw and Faith Hill, the Brothers took the stage to screaming that was positively deafening. As far as we can figure, twinky Joe is the cute one, diabetic Nick is the sensitive one and eldest Kevin might grow up to be actually handsome, bless him. The hundreds of prepubescent banshees lost their shit over opener "That's Just the Way We Roll," a song that lost us the second they mentioned battling Hanson in a dance-off. Boys best watch their step.
We understood there were to be "special guests," most likely as a peace offering to parents, but we were in no way prepared for the sheer number of them. Michael W. Smith joined the trio for "My Place in This World," Martina McBride rocked the trampiest shoes ever for "Independence Day" and Amy Grant sang "Baby Baby" with the baby boys, the first song of the night we actually recognized. When wearer of obvious 2-inch heels Kevin confirmed my suspicion by adorably stating, "That was for you, mom, we love you," the tweeners and their moms lost their shit (again). Boys got this gig down to a science.
Additional parental panacea arrived in the forms of Stephen Curtis Chapman, Phil Vassar and lumbering denim-on-denim giant Vince Gill, none of whom seemed to know the words to The Band's "The Weight," in spite of having the lyrics right in front of them. No matter. This was the time for the moms to lose their shit (again) while their babies took a much-needed breather.
As the show wound down, the Jonas hits came out: "SOS" and "Burnin' Up" are the two singles every girl in the crowd sang every word to, turning into an off-puttingly perfect children's choir. All the Vince Gills in the world couldn't top their favorite songs being performed by their favorite pop group. The Spin has been there. The Spin knows.
Cue one more final bizarre group-sing of "American Pie" and call it a night, boys. The show lasted a little over two hours and the crowd had tuckered themselves out over every flash of golden Jonas skin, every Jagger-lite stage move, every wanky guitar breakdown and every sob story about diabetes. We were thankful there was no encore, and suddenly felt a twinge of solidarity with most of the crowd. It was 8 o'clock on a school night and we needed to go to bed.
Oh, hi. Oh....
In Nashville, the term "special guest" has begun to elicit an understandably "boy who cried wolf" reaction from show-goers. Perhaps that's why only 40 or so early birds saw Lambchop take the stage early Saturday night at The Basement. Judging by all the wide eyes as people poured into the room to find Kurt Wagner & Co. "Close Up and Personal," it was a pleasant surprise for everyone else, too.
The first Spin blurb of 2009. We're disappointed, too. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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