A crowd of about 350 gathered around the stage at Cox Capitol Theater Friday night for Of Montreal’s first ever performance in Macon.
The Athens-born indie funk-pop band released their 12th album, Lousy with Sylvianbriar, three months ago. Macon was their last show on the east coast before they hit the road for California and then fly to Japan to kick off a world tour.
Wild Moccasins–the shoes, not the snakes– began the evening with an energetic yet emotionally tinged performance. The free-spirited indie-pop quintet from Texas lured newcomers to the stage with their harmonies and dancey rhythms.
They dressed in a not-so-typical old-school fashion with an added new wave flare. The group’s chemistry was pronounced in raw vocal melodies and boy-girl harmonies which were complemented by guitars, drums, bass and electronic undertones.
Their sophomore album, 88 92, will be released next month. They performed “Eye Makeup” , their single “Gag Re- flections” and “Spanish & Jazz” from their 2009 album, Microscopic Metronomes, among many other songs.
Lead singer and keyboardist Zahira Gutierrez said they played at the Rookery three years ago, “to nobody.” After performing at Cox Capitol Theater, she said she has a different take on Macon.
The Moonhanger Group, a parent company to the Rookery, took over management of the Cox Capitol theater in October and has made it their goal to bring regionally and nationally recognized musicians to perform at the venue.
Marketing Manager Roger Riddle said there is an opportunity for the historic theater to become the premier live music venue in Macon. He said The Moonhanger Group’s goal is to get people excited about the local scene of live music.
A masked man introduced Of Montreal to the theater full of cheers as if it was the beginning of a circus act. Known for changing their sound with each album, the group showcased old and new songs that satisfied a broad palette of musical tastes.
The visual and oral engagement made the show uniquely cinematic. Psychedelic designs waved and morphed on huge white screens that seemed to encapsulate the band in a dreamy sea of colors and patterns.
Umbrella shaped screens popped out occasionally, which surprised the crowd with a trippy 3-D effect. Bubbles traveled through the air and abstract images of eyes, a Venus fly trap and Cold War era tanks flashed in the background.
The group performed “Plastis Wafer” from their 2008 album Skeletal Lamping, “Heimdalsgate Like A Promethean
Curse” and “Suffer for Fashion” from their 2007 album Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, as well as many songs from their new album Lousy With Sylvianbriar.
Though Athens is just a hop, skip and a jump away, the group has only passed through Macon traveling on I-16. They were pleasantly surprised.
Mid-show, frontman Kevin Barnes said, “I’ve never been to Macon, but I gotta say I like what I’m experiencing.”
Of Montreal performed for about an hour and a half before ending what felt like a communal experience.
After the show, the group’s official twitter, @xxofMon- trealxx, tweeted, “Macon, who knew?!? I can’t believe we’ve never played there before!”
Riddle said he has heard nothing but positive things about the show from every side.
“It was a win win win,” Riddle said.“It was a win for the bands a wins for us and a win for the city of macon.”
The Cox Capitol Theater has many more shows on the horizon including many bands from Georgia. Solo artists Randall Bramblett and Zach Deputy will take the stage on January 24 and country star Travis Tritt on February 13.