Away from the cannabis vendors and blaring disc jockeys piled on Denver’s Colfax Avenue during this year’s 4/20, The Bluebird Theater offered a different kind of spectacle.
The time seemed more than appropriate for an original, off the walls show that only a band like Of Montreal could provide. The concert marked the band's 14th stop in their 2017 tour in a rigorous stint of playing shows every night on the road without a break in between. New York based songwriter, Christina Schneider and her band Jepeto Solutions joined Of Montreal on their tour. Jepeto Solutions’ journey with Of Montreal has been filled with plenty of historic firsts for the three-piece outfit who have undergone some of the biggest changes as a group. Thursday night was the first time Christina Schneider and her band played on a Denver stage. Schneider remarked on how the experience has culminated into a remarkable learning lesson for the whole band.
“It’s been a good year. Before this we were playing regular shows in New York. We haven’t toured as a band together till this,” Schneider said.
You'd never know it between the diverse musicality and tight grooves that never faltered rhythmically. Before Of Montreal’s explosive entrance, Jepeto Solutions kicked things off with a handful of songs that showcased the band's off kilter and idiosyncratic songwriting. Quentin Moore’s flashy lead guitar lines in contrast with Schneider’s chiming falsetto and Derek Baron’s progressive drumming brought influences like Pavement and Speedy Ortiz to mind.
“It’d be great to tour everywhere again because this tour has been no brakes, new city every day, usually getting there right at six, and playing, then going to bed,” Schneider said. “It’s been incredibly good,” Moore agreed.
The future looks bright for the three indie musicians. Following the opener, Of Montreal broke the silence in a theatrical fashion following a brief intermission.
The general admission floor transformed into a dizzying pool of swirling colors as costumed concertgoers of all shapes and sizes intermingled. Suddenly a towering, white matador-like costumed beast entered from stage right after the rest of Of Montreal positioned themselves behind their instruments. The furry behemoth waved a sword at the front row, indicating to the crowd that Of Montreal had arrived. The group’s psychedelic and often times surreal method of performing has become a signature characteristic for the band. The wild displays of stage oddities didn’t end there.
Each song beckoned a new scene with a cast of rotating monsters, angels and mythical creatures alike. The music was as eccentric and grandiose as the displays onstage. Frontman Kevin Barnes’s singing abilities were a strongpoint that brought the band’s sound to new heights. Rather than sticking to only their most recently released material, Of Montreal’s setlist featured tracks from a wide timeline of their sizable discography. If there is one thing the experimental indie rockers from Georgia have mastered, it is their ability to keep their listeners guessing. Either it be in a recorded format or seeing them live, Of Montreal are always brimming with pleasant surprises. The long and winding road ahead for both Jepeto Solutions and Of Montreal ultimately suggests that no matter what, it will be an adventure worth laying eyes on.