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Of Montreal Bring Karaoke to Life

It’s been said that the best way to learn a craft is to study the masters, and thanks to New York magazine, indie rock dreamers got that chance Saturday night (April 14) at Brooklyn’s Studio B. Athens, GA’s Of Montreal opened the night with a 17-song set before transforming into the backup karaoke band. Their stage theatrics were visual ecstasy and their choice of costumes impeccable as usual (even the drum was dressed up). A few familiar props showed up from the latest video for “Heimdalsgate Like a Promethean Curse,” like the lobster claw and the stilted silver fabric fish tail that Barnes mounted by way of hidden ladder. Faceless men in full-body leotards crept across the stage, while Barnes revamped his costume every few songs, finally ending up shirtless with thigh-high fishnets and purple shorts — androgyny so hot, Bowie should take another glance.

Following this act would’ve been impossible for the God of Indie Rock himself, but the band was supportive and took a backseat for the good, the bad, and the bizarre karaoke acts that closed out the night. Michael Showalter, in character as aged MC Alan Shemper from Wet Hot American Summer, introduced each act and reminded the crowd that, “We are here to karaoke until our throats explode!” Standout acts like Hal (“Rocks Off” – the Rolling Stones) and Aquaman (“Moonage Daydream” – David Bowie) were in character AND had a great voice, while out performers such as Amy and Keith (“Sweet Child O’ Mine” – Guns N’ Roses) and Griffin (“Don’t Stop Believin'” – Journey) rendered costumes useless as they pulled off incredible vocal acrobatics. Actors Paul Rudd and David Wain also showed up to deliver Boston’s signature power ballad, “More Than a Feeling,” and Rudd may have a future as a frontman, delivering one of the night’s most hilarious (and surprisingly on-key) performances.

After dozens of songs, Of Montreal was still smiling and taking the offbeat and off-key acts with stride, and Showalter said it best when he described their role in the night’s events, “First they play a whole set, then they’re the backup band for a bunch of fucking idiots. There has never been a band this cool.” KRISTINA ENSMINGER / PHOTOS BY KELLEY BINGHAM

>> Listen to Of Montreal on Napster

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