Saturday, December 15, 2012

Of Montreal - Foxygen - French Horn Rebellion -- 9:30 Club - Dec 14 2012

French Horn Rebellion - Lights out, as the smoke fills the stage and sounds of a rainstorm come through the PA. I am awaiting those three distinct chords from 'Black Sabbath', but instead get a couple of guys behind keyboards and electronics with a drummer in the rear. Indeed, one guy does have a French horn wailing away to some mysterious music, before they settle into some more familiar rhythmic electronic pop. There were loads of energy and crazed stage patter and even some rap. At least until one member picked up his keyboard and mock killed his brother, sparing us from more MC Hammer moves. I liked the French horn and there was enough of that, but I could have used a little more rebellion.

Foxygen - There are five of them up there switching around amongst keys and guitars with the bass and drums keeping it going the whole way. All of them sing and there is one female voice in the mix, although one guy with a fascinating and twisted voice dominates. Vocally there is a touch of the psyche Fit & Limo and I also hear elements of Shadows of Knight (or any other pseudo-Jagger Nugget era vocalist). Musically, there is Skip Spence, Beau Brummels, Holy Mackarel... I could continue, but I sense a distinctly light pop psyche California sound from the 60s. And since I have never mentioned the last four bands in any sort of comparison in previous reviews, this band is channeling something unique and have the creativity to twist it into a modern sound that is full of their quirky personality. There are enough hooks to grab on to, although at times they tend to drift into areas where I feel like I am trying to grab a handful of fog. This is a highly intriguing band that is well worth a listen and I hope to see them back in town again some time.

Of Montreal - And speaking of lighter pop psychedelia... up comes this well established American band that has been showcasing their own brand of oddball charm for some time now. It is a sold out show, although there is more room than usual in the balcony tonight. They come out with oddly costumed stage hands passing out a ridiculously long sausage linked set of balloons for the crowd. They also have various stuffed animals amongst the costumed musicians (some, not all). I did not stay the full set as their death scene of a stuffed animal reminded me to head home and take care of my ill cat. The band is musically playful with some nu-psyche moves amongst the pop rock core. It is a nice sound, but does not quite dig into my world as much as I would like, as it reminds me of latter day Roxy Music as opposed to the edgier early Roxy (and there is not quite the intensity of Bryan Ferry anywhere here). Still, these guys have carved out space in their fun little world and have a lot of people who want to join them, and I will not argue against that. They have the skill to keep this going a long time.

Quote of the Night (from 2008): A 20 year old classical guitarist from Illinois was chatting with me on a boat from Stockholm to Helsinki... "My favorite musicians are Comus, Opeth, and Stravinsky." We were on the Melloboat which was a terrifically fun musical cruise over two nights featuring some of Europe's most interesting psyche, folk, prog, and metal bands from olden days and new. Many pilgrims were there from all corners of the globe mostly to see Comus, but were treated to lots of great bands. One Alaskan, interrupted his vacation in Thailand to join some Jersey buddies for the trip. They are doing it again with Opeth, Trettioariga Kriget, and many more leading the way for the cruise this September. No Comus, but it is giving me some serious pause for thought.

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