Dancin’ Machines

At most indie rock shows you witness them: wearing specs and tight pants, swilling PBR, playing drums on their thighs, feet planted. But maybe not this indie show.

“Of Montreal wants people to dance,” says Brian Poole (otherwise known as The Late BP Helium).

Of Montreal’s shows, once quieter, have evolved into hip-shaking theatrics.

“We started letting other music and influences come in besides psychedelic pop from the sixties, which was what we were really into,” Poole tells Xpress. “Now there’s a heavy influence from Prince. We’re really into Sly and the Family Stone and Curtis Mayfield—you know, dance kind of things.”

Of Montreal is less a collection of navel-gazing college kids and more a rock/dance juggernaut hellbent on taking over dance floors, and it all begins with lead singer and chief songwriter Kevin Barnes. Barnes has emerged as a hypersexualized tribute to Freddie Mercury, Prince and David Bowie.

“Kevin is such a spastic songwriter, he doesn’t like to stay in one spot, but he also wants the music to be uplifting,” Poole says.

That uplifting quality is Of Montreal’s hallmark. Coupled with Barnes’ theatrics, it isn’t uncommon for the band’s morose lyrics to be juxtaposed with the band’s jerky and hip shaking rhythms. The ability to do this in the span of a three-minute pop song is something that Poole is still getting used to.

“The dance thing is a latent thing that we feel is positive and makes you feel good,” says Poole. “If the song is good it’s going to make you want to dance. If people aren’t dancing then we aren’t doing something right … For most indie rock bands, I guess dancing isn’t that expected.” 

[Jason Bugg is a Sylva-based freelance writer.]

who:  Of Montreal
what:  theatric and danceable indie rock
where: The Grey Eagle
when:  Sunday, Jan. 4 (9 p.m. $18. www.thegreyeagle.com)

 

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