Musicians always lament the effect of touring on their relationships; often ignored are the effects of touring on a band's fanatical followers and their loved ones. In severe cases, you have the Duranies, the Morrissey-philes (guilty) and, as studied by mental-heath professionals worldwide, Michael Jackson followers.
On a lesser scale are those who attend a dozen-plus live shows a month, know ticket presale dates better than siblings' birthdays and value a prospective mate's opinion of a band as much as Roe v. Wade. (Take note, Sen. McCain.) Taking an apathetic mate to a concert is one thing, but dragging a reluctant date to a show on an anniversary or (yikes!) Valentine's Day? Possibly fatal.
I took my chances last Wednesday at Rialto Theatre.
Of Montreal's rumored impatience with a tardy, Vodka-stealing opening band led to Tucson's own Coin taking the slot, showcasing the married duo Brad and Diana Denboer's '80s Atari-influenced Kraut-dance-pop. Anti-rapper Diana set the tone for the night's party atmosphere, repeatedly pumping her Nintendo Power Glove into the air.
Coin was followed by local DJ Matt McCoy, who is undisputedly Tucson's most popular DJ for one reason--the guy knows his crowd. Whether he's at the Surly Wench, Club Congress or the Rialto, McCoy always delivers, crisscrossing genres, flowing seamlessly from Prince to The Postal Service.
Headliners Of Montreal greeted the front row with roses and kept the mood positive, despite the fact that the bulk of their newest, Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?, is about lead singer Kevin Barnes' crumbling marriage and the following near-breakdown. Whereas the calculated Dandy Warhols failed at making retro-electro-pop sexy, Of Montreal excel as Barnes' diary-like lyrics add warmth and energize the songs' hooks.
Barnes appeared to be on the rebound, parading around the stage like a cross between a camp Prince and various Bowie incarnations. Besides the music, Barnes also glammed and funked up his various multicolored outfits, which included a mesh shirt/silk scarf combo, a 12-foot-tall clown gown and a pair of tight, high-watered, striped overalls.
Behind the costumed Of Montreal, three projection screens put on psychedelic displays and random '80s slides (Dolfin shorts!), but mostly the word "Love." Was it this subliminal message or the uplifting music that turned my date around? I may never know, but I'm just hoping Morrissey doesn't tour next February. We might not survive that one.