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All the world's a stage for Of Montreal

for Journal Register Newspapers

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Of Montreal has already done one tour to promote its latest album, "Paralytic Stalks," which came out in February. But as is the theatrically minded Athens, Ga., group's wont, frontman Kevin Barnes and his brother David, who conceptualizes the band's shows, have come up with yet another look for current batch of dates.

"The last tour was a pretty intense visual production, a lot of projections," explains Barnes, 38. "With this tour we decided that we just want to keep it fresh for ourselves, so we had to do something different. We're going to have a lot of skits with performance artists on stage, interacting with them and (with) a lot of different costume changes and storylines happening to kind of create this visually dynamic experience.

"We definitely don't do traditional rocks shows."

That's been the case since Barnes started Of Montreal in 1996 as an offshoot of the Elephant 6 collective he was also part of. Barnes and company have always accented the group's trippy, neo-psychedelic brand of rock with elaborate stage shows, and this is hardly the first time he's used performers besides the musicians to make an impact. "We just want to create something that's visually more interesting and slightly more abstract, hallucinatory and transportive," he explains. "It creates more of a communal experience, with people touching the performers and feeling physically connected to the show."

But, he acknowledges, there can be a down side.

"We bring a lot of costumes on the road that can't really be washed very well, so for the performance artists it's like, 'Oh God, do I have to put this on again?' " Barnes notes. "They've been running around sweating, pouring out all sorts of weird things that start to dry and get smelly on the costumes. Then they have to plug their noses to put them on. It's fun, but it's not easy."

Of Montreal, Yip Deceiver and Chappo perform Monday, June 18, at the Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 day of show. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.

Web Site: www.thecrofoot.com

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