Last Tuesday, surprisingly, was a really busy live music night. With both Breakbot and Of Montreal in Bangkok to perform, I knew a lot of people who were torn about which show to attend.
But it was also a night that proves something. In Bangkok, a lot of gigs are an education. You have to give it to the audiences here, because in many cases they really don’t know much about the acts they are going to see, but they are trusting enough to give it a shot, and in this case they truly were rewarded.
Of Montreal’s gig was set at Live RCA, as part of Singha Light’s Live Series. I’ve heard some gripes about Live RCA recently, and while it is a bit expensive – albeit the same as any downtown venue or club – I must admit I absolutely loved the venue! Fantastic sound, fantastic lighting, and the balconies offer another perspective and great view. I also love how with there’s a supermarket next door, so it’s easy to get a cheap beer and hang out before the show, which many people were doing.
In Bangkok, a lot of gigs are an education. You have to give it to the audiences here, because in many cases they really don’t know much about the acts they are going to see, but they are trusting enough to give it a shot, and in this case they truly were rewarded.
Up as the opening act before Of Montreal were Srirajah Rockers, who were wonderful. They had the task of rallying the crowd and they completely delivered. Coming off the launch of a brand new album, they just have such great reggae grooves that carried through their entire set and got people moving.
I also like how they make the effort to explain their lyrics in English as best they could, despite the fact that they are as local as it gets. Srirajah Rockers’ lead singer Win also never passes on a chance to share a message, his rhetoric spread throughout the band’s set with a touch of noise distortion, making him sound like some sort of dub prophet. They really deserved an encore but things move quickly on to the main act.
Between his costumes and the way the band members moved in synergy, they just created that feeling you have of being in a nightclub, when you want to go over and dance with the cool kids.
Of Montreal blew me away, and many others in the room as well, with the first few songs the best moments for me. I had listened to their stuff in the lead up to this event, but I just wasn’t prepared to hear them live and their first few songs just left me thinking Oh My God! Their recorded material is often quite chill, but their stage performance is quite the opposite, an amazing mix of sound, with Kevin Barnes vocals very much the main instrument, backed by amazing synth and guitar work. Barnes feels reminiscent of David Bowie or Freddie Mercury, but that’s actually a poor comparison as he is all his own style.
Between his costumes and the way the band members moved in synergy, they just created that feeling you have of being in a nightclub, when you want to go over and dance with the cool kids. Was this a gig like the ones they are accustomed to having in New York or London, where everyone just goes nuts? No. But the audience was special in its own way, from the obvious fans like the guy who grabbed his own spot to the side of the stage, took off his shoes and danced all night – to some people in the back, beers in hand, mouths just wide open with awe. While it was nice to see long-time fans showing up and enjoying a treat of a show, you could also see that Of Montreal were introducing their music to new people and making new fans, and somehow I think they enjoyed that as much as a big gig. They carried the crowd with such finesse, with not a single moment wasted, one song carrying into the next and never a reason given to stop dancing.
I think it’s summed up from what I saw one girl say before they began … “they better be good”. I later saw her at the front, holding onto the stage and dancing like crazy.
Halfway through the set, Barnes ran off, but the party didn’t stop as he made a costume change, returning in a blonde wig. Things just continued to heat up and when they left the stage in the end everyone wanted a bit more, with raucous calls for encore. They returned smiling, belting out Bassem Sabry before Barnes sheepishly asked permission to play one more, which everyone wanted anyways, ending with A Sentence Of Sorts In Kongsvinger.
I unfortunately wasn’t able to stick around for what I saw later was a great signing session, but I saw enough to know that Of Montreal really had won people over. I think it’s summed up from what I saw one girl say before they began … “they better be good”. I later saw her at the front, holding onto the stage and dancing like crazy. I think that not every concert has to be watching you’re already a huge fan off, because sometimes a wonderful introduction to new sounds is just as wonderful.
— Written by Abner Olivieri, images credit of Have You Heard.