We've been Of Montreal fans since the olden days of the early 2000s. We first saw them at Red Rose in Murfreesboro and moved up and over with them -- first to The End, then to Mercy Lounge, and Saturday we saw them yet again at their sold-out show in The Cannery Ballroom.
Unfortunately we got sucked into the Sarah Palin Teabag manifesto, so we missed opener James Husband. When we finally moseyed over, something strange hit us: Of Montreal somehow has a fan base that is perpetually 19 years old. The band's evolution into a gaggle of psychedelic sex fiends lets them make them the perfect soundtrack for the awkward college freshman eager to bang that photography major while the roommate is out of town. Have these people even heard of Cherry Peel? The mind boggles. The Spin felt like a geezer, and was half-expecting the joint to go Logan's Run at any second.
There were two projection screens onstage just like the band's Cannery show last year, but this time there was a new addition: A small group of actors would pop on and off during the show and act out bizarre little skits with strobe lights, smoke machines, pig masks and hot dog-eating contests. It was pretty rad, and didn't distract from the performance of the band at all. They were playing totally live, and sounded great even in the sometimes-problematic Ballroom.
The stage piece during the unsettling "Oslo in the Summertime" was a highlight: Two men, stripped down to flesh-colored underwear, ran onstage and posed like a couple of hipster Charles Atlases. All of a sudden, paisley patterns and flowers were projected over their bodies, making them look like living cartoon characters who just happened to be really cut.
Serendipitously, the Cannery show ended at the same time as the show upstairs at Mercy Lounge: The Long Players doing Elvis Presley's Elvis Presley. That audience definitely skewed to the AARP end of the spectrum, and it was a treat to watch the two crowds stream into the parking lot together. The upstairs patrons were mature enough to at least nod politely at the kids all dressed up in glitter and smiles, while the kids ran off to do, we don't know, whatever stupid bullshit teenagers do nowadays.