Of Montreal, Janelle Monáe Impress at Day 1 of Pygmalion

Janelle Monáe: 9:00 PM, Canopy Club

Monáe’s set was less of a rock concert, and more performance art. As the set began, Monáe’s face appeared on two screens; she explained the epic story her album The ArchAndroid has been telling thus far. The video ended with Monáe saying, “Dance, or die” — this sums up the rest of the night well. The music sounded great; Monáe’s band are talented showmen. Monáe herself looked less like she was singing songs, and more like she was telling a very in-depth, dramatic story. She took advantage of both audio and visual mediums and staged a complex, catchy, and in some ways, moving performance that really begged to be seen. If you missed this show, kick yourself. It was certainly one of the year’s best, and its not likely anything will come close to topping it any time soon. — Nick Martin

My start to Pygmalion was at least in my mind going to be Of Montreal. My knowledge of Janelle Monáe was minimal, and I didn’t know what to think of what her website calls a “new diva”. However from the opening act of her performance (a futuristic video dubbing Janelle the “Archandroid” and her goal to ease the human/robot relations) I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage. From song to song she swept me off my feet with her high energy and outstanding funk and soulful vocals. With such a high energy from the very beginning of the show, when she got to “Tightrope” I couldn’t believe she continually belted out song after song with slight breaks only to dance around on stage. In between the rocking R&B riffs of the band and Monáe’s minute long powerhouse notes, Kevin Barnes made an appearance and did a duet that really solidified the fact that Janelle Monáe can jam. — Colin Lateano

Janelle Monae was insane. It has been a very, very long time since I have had that much fun at a concert and it just may be a long time before anything beats it. The show started off with Janelle doing the first four tracks off of her concept album The ArchAndroid and I thought perhaps that she would just go straight through the whole album, but it didn’t happen. Instead she played two songs off of her EP that was released in 2007 which is part one of her three-part concept of an android in love in Metropolis. Everyone in the crowd was pretty much crazy the whole time and I can’t help but say that Monae shined quite a bit brighter than of Montreal. Her show was both diverse and contained and was full of surprises like showing Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader’s lightsaber fight from Return of the Jedi while playing “Cold War.” It was flat out amazing and I would highly suggest anyone who like fun things to see her very soon. — buzz music editor Dylan Sutcliff,

of Montreal: 10:30 PM, Canopy Club

Of Montreal rolls into town as the headlining act of the festival, and rightly so. Even though following up an act like Janelle Monáe seemed impossible because of her elaborate visuals and other stage antics, it wasn’t anything Kevin Barnes & Co. couldn’t upstage. The set was filled with new tracks, opening with single “Coquet Coquette” and sprinkling other False Priest tracks here and there. Going into the show I figured most of the set would be filled with new material, but the band covered there bases with Skeletal Lamping standouts “An Eluardian Instance” and the zany closer “For Our Elegant Caste”. The highlights of the show however came from Hissing Fauna tracks “She’s A Rejector” and the epic “The Past is A Grotesque Animal”. Although there were some serious down points of the show in which the stage was just completely cluttered with people and bizarre props and distractions, they managed to put together a pretty awesome set. — Patrick Singer

Kevin Barnes and friends tried to turn indie-rock into artistic spectacle, but this show didn’t work as well for me. While there was certainly a lot to look at, it seemed like there wasn’t much to listen to. Barnes seemed intent on letting material off False Priest be the show’s focus; in fact, even though of Montreal has ten studio albums, the band didn’t play anything that came out before Sunlandic Twins. False Priest is ok, but it seemed like the crowd was hoping for older songs from Hissing Fauna or Skeletal Lamping. The band also brought tons of eye candy for the crowd to watch. I myself didn’t find it very interesting. In fact, it seemed like some of it was just trying to be weird strictly for the sake of being weird. The set’s lowest point was when Barnes sat behind a screen and played a solo song on the piano; like this song, most of the set seemed very indulgent. of Montreal didn’t have a bad performance, they were just upstaged by the opening act. Maybe Barnes will come back down to earth for of Montreal’s next tour, but last night’s set was too “out there” for me. — Nick Martin

Of Montreal had an extremely hard act to follow. Janelle Monae left everyone in Canopy sweaty, a bit tired and blown away so Kevin Barns definitely had his work cut out for him. However when the band walked out there was no doubt how far they were willing to go, with extremely elaborate costumes and what seemed to be a very strange working narrative. I had seen them once before so I had expected much of this but when Kevin Barns started to receive mimed fellatio from a woman with a pig head on I knew it was a whole new ballgame. of Montreal played songs off of most of their albums from the past five years with tracks like “The Party’s Crashing Us,” and “Suffer For Fashion” appearing in the set. Although, I was a little disappointed when they didn’t play “Enemy Gene” from their new album False Priest because it features Janelle Monae and she was obviously available for the performance. Also, When they played “Sex Karma” I’m not sure why Monae didn’t come out and sing Solange Knowles part, but I guess you can’t have it all. Overall, of Montreal were really fun and played a very interesting show but I still believe that Janelle Monae will be the one to stick out in everyone’s memories. — buzz music editorDylan Sutcliff

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