Show Preview: of Montreal, UC Theatre, May 3

in Music News by

of Montreal are an interesting proposition; a band named for a Canadian city who actually hail from Athens, Georgia, they have the characteristic skewed viewpoint of others from that city (particularly rock’s most gloriously inexplicable superstars, REM); and they’re coming to the UC Theatre on May 3. The name is striking, but the music is unique, and the show looks to be well worth your time.

But first, the story behind the name. In many ways it’s a classic rock story – boy founds the band in the nagging emotional memory of a broken heart – as the band’s lead singer Kevin Barnes named the group after a fizzled-out romance between him and a woman ‘of Montreal’, but the music is no mere single-timbre breakup note. Everyone who has seen them in action will tell you that of Montreal are an experience you shouldn’t pass up. It’s like a psychedelic pop show accompanied by surprising musical threads woven together in an unparalleled musical tapestry.

Starting as they meant to go on, back in 1996, Barnes teamed up with Derek Almstead and Bryan Poole to record their debut album, Cherry Peel, before seeing a number of lineup changes, all revolving around Barnes as the creative center of the band. Even with creative partnerships continually changing, rotating, enriching and exploding, the band’s soul has remained untouched, year after year, as they belted out one new record after another. While they’ve evolved, the music has a distinct otherworldly feel that hasn’t left, across lineups and decades.

of Montreal are the kind of band whose work is great on the record, but which finds a whole new life on the stage. You cannot talk of the band as a live act without remembering Barnes’s performance in Las Vegas, in 2007 – eye-catching even for Sin City, Barnes performed five songs completely nude; and much has been said, and written, (and photographed) about that live act. But of Montreal continues to take us by surprise each time they take to the stage. You never know what to expect; from random cover songs, unusual stage props, and innumerable costume changes; somehow appropriating Vegas glam back for the lovely, dirty, punky edge of indie rock.

San Francisco is undoubtedly in for a treat because this quirky and unconventional troupe is stopping by at the UC Theater Taube Family Music Hall. The venue’s perfect for the act: with a fantastic lighting rig and state-of-the-art audio systems, held inside historical interiors that are perfect for nights out on the edge of the ordinary, outside of what you expect.

If you’re intrigued by the venue, and if you want to watch of Montreal perform in a space that is tailor-made for musical acts with a twist and an edge, then the UC Theatre is where you’re going to have to head to on Thursday, May 3. Mark your calendars and get ready. You never know what to expect at the band’s show, but you can bet on it being surprising, creative, groundbreaking and unique.

Of Montreal plays the UC Theater – Locate S, 1 – Thu, May 3, 2018 – Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm / $25.00

With a discography that includes albums on Digital Nations (a Steve Vai imprint), music critic Louis Raphael has always kept a pulse on the San Francisco music scene. After years as the San Francisco Music Examiner for and, he decided to start Music in SF® as a way to showcase what the San Francisco music scene really has to offer.

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