Blind Date w/ Al Pash: Of Montreal @ Fine Line Music Cafe

Blind Date w/ Al Pash: Of Montreal @ Fine Line Music Cafe


Al Pash moves fast through the love department, and is already on to her next Blind Date! This week, Of Montreal’s Kevin Barnes has tickled her fancy, leaving her captivated after last night’s performance at Minneapolis’ Fine Line Music Cafe. The girl who never believed in Santa now believes. The girl who didn’t know love, now has the light. Consider her “woke”, and ready tango.


It isn’t easy finding a well-dressed, cheap date who can carry eloquent conversations about patriarchy, feminism, mental health, or transphobia. I mean, is that too much to ask?! Coincidently, I was captured by Kevin Barnes’ zealous mystique, and lured into his vivacious den, where an eternally pressing question for me was finally answered; Yes, Unicorns do, in fact, exist. I believe Barnes to be a reincarnation of one. It’s simply the only explanation for the experience laid before me last evening. I was hopelessly enamored, start to finish, as if I had been bewitched. The props and personas that gamboled by his side left me in a retro fantasy, stimulated beyond seduction.

Photo by Fantail Media


The costumed personas proved to be the evenings most desperate attention thieves, as they charmed the audience with their theatrical movements, and grandiose gestures. Giant pink creatures stilted across the stage passed the werewolves and raging boars. The frequent wardrobe changes and interactive propaganda gratified every eye in the crowd, leaving no room for apathy. Rainbow balloons, confetti, and a pseudo-nude contortionist frilled and thrilled, painting the interior with hue of vibrance. Barnes decorated the stage with neon brilliance, inviting the audience to bathe in a fluorescent jungle. I wonder if Mr. Barnes was a socialite in a past life, or rather born enlightened. He reads like a book once borrowed, yet never returned, due to the secret splendor found inside.

Photo by Nancy Vuong


Not a trace of disappointment resonates within me regarding the sonics of the show. Every auditory stimulus felt like an engram burrowed into my mind, controlling the executive order over all anatomical motions. The saccharine synths bursted flavor into the mouths of every willing taker, balanced by the savory flavor with of the snare with its every strike. The full band sounded as if it had been beguiled by Tim Burton, then coaxed down the rabbit hole to meet Alice for the ultimate sex-on-the-beach party. The mixture of comfort and confidence in their performance was indicative of their individual musicianship, as well as their cohesion as a group. At times I felt like I had fallen into a technicolor dream, conceived by Bowie and Prince. I think the most admirable aspect of the production was the sincerity that plastered their grinning faces as they frolicked and played in their self-manifested sandbox. No one turned down their invitation to the party, as the room saturated quickly with heat from the uncontrollable gyrations from the mass of bodies.

Photo by Madi Ellis


The night divulged every corner of Barnes’ psyche, illuminating many internal frustrations and radiating every passion that pulsates through his existence. He shared those feelings around, coaxing the crowd with lyrical bread crumbs like “How do you Identify/ How do you ID”, and, “I think that you’re great/ I want to, let’s relate.” He cradled our unconscious insecurities, nursing them to a high-esteemed health. Th crowd responded magnificently: everyone absolutely enthralled by the performance, as well as one another, collectively professing their their shared humanism. It was one beautiful moment that lasted an entire evening.

Blindly attending an experience like this naturally sparked an intrigue within me. While watching him move, I thought of his parents. I wondered if they were supportive. If they came to any shows. Were they able to see their design fully realized? Have they wholly grasped the messages their child professes, which is heard by hundreds each night? Messages of acceptance, celebration, challenge, and frustration? I thought about his friends. Do they reflect the energy he exudes? Do they inspire his next creation, as he inspires those thirsty to create?  A band and a man of this artistic stature, originated in some place and time, unabashedly ready to perform- I give you, Of Montreal.


Photo Credits: