Friday, 27 April 2012

Of Montreal, Irish Centre, Leeds

Having not heard anything by tonight's headliners, I ventured out on a wet Monday evening giddy with anticipation for hearing some new music. However, when only five songs into Of Montreal's set, my friend turned round and muttered 'they're like a poor man's Scissor Sisters' my giddy mood quickly waned. Fortunately, the support bands made the drive across a windswept M62 worth the effort. Opening band, whose name I missed, very quickly picked out a nice groove that was only tainted by the flat vocal style of their lead singer. At their best, they reminded me of Hot Chip, but a Hot Chip who had spent their formative years sitting in graveyards reciting the lyrics of Morrissey to each other rather than fruggin' the night away in a techno bunker on the outskirts of Berlin. They were also held together by a drummer who seemed to have modelled himself on Keith Moon, such was his flailing behind his kit.

When second act Yip Deceiver kicked-off their set by bouncing around the stage like Jedward, I started to wish that I had never given up smoking. However, by the time they reached the chorus of their opening number I was a fully fledged convert to the cause. Davey Pierce and Nick Dobbratz (who will later take to the stage with their day job band and headliners, Of Montreal) kick out half a dozen catchy pop songs that wouldn't sound out of place on a John Hughes movie soundtrack. From the Erasure-esque Get Strict to Sadie Hawkins Day a song that if there was any justice in the world would be filling indie dancefloors up and down the country, the duo play an absolute blinder which left the crowd whooping and hollering for more by the end of the set. Both Pierce and Dobbratz (who from a distance looks a little like Mika - not a good look) take it in turns to deliver the lead vocals, and it is their voices that will pick this duo out when they are inevitably compared to pop twosomes such as The Ting Tings. My only one disappointment was that by the time I got to the merchandise stall to purchase their debut e.p, it had understandably sold out. A fact I should have been well aware of, as throughout the set, Pierce regularly checked in with the merchandise guy to see how well the record was selling 'that was a track from our new e.p. which we have only.....three left at the merch table!'. Just a word of advice, if you get the chance to see this band play, make sure you checkout the merchandise stall before rather than after their set. Don't say you haven't been warned.

Visually, Of Montreal have it going on. The decent sized stage at the Irish Centre struggled to fit all eight band members, who showed off their musical dexterity by playing a range of instruments during the set. With lead guitarist Bryan Poole dressed as an Austin Power's version of a 60's popstar, and regular stage invasions by ghouls and dancers wearing fake breasts, there was a real sense of theatre to tonight's performance. Musically, however, the band left me cold. The material from new album Paralytic Stalks felt a little unbalanced and out of place amongst the bright projections of the stage set, while older songs such as Suffer for Fashion lead to the comparison with Jake Shear's disco posers. By the end, I felt as if I were attending a poorly executed art and drama degree show, and believe you and me, I have been to a few of those and this is not a good thing. 


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