Never thought you'd fancy a man in red patent pumps? Think again, girls and guys. In a show that's very much about a band and included animation, synchronised dance moves and low-brow performance art, it's hard not to talk singularly about Kevin Barnes, frontman, poser and general Christ-like figure from American band Of Montreal. Barnes swoops onstage in a cropped blue leather jacket and said shoes, later changing into an aqua sequinned jacket and at one point waltzing into the wings solely to pick up a polka-dot scarf which he twists teasingly round his neck and fingers.
You wouldn't think that instrument-swapping band members in superhero capes, animal masks and turquoise leggings could be overshadowed, but then most band members don't have a lead-singer that strips down to a gold thong and reenacts an ancient sacrificial ritual. However, there's nothing pretentious about the performance - it is all tongue-in-cheek, with Barnes shimmying raunchily, pogoing and scissor-jumping around the stage as he sweeps his side parting out of his face in a sultry manner.
At times the theatrical nature of the show gets a little over-the-top, and the storming 16-song set slows at around the point Barnes gets naked (post-pants, if you like), losing a little of the power of the first eight songs which pounded out with no break in between. Of Montreal have been through many incarnations, and their blend of power-pop, 70s disco, melodic dance, twee indie and more conventional rock can stand alone, and would work entirely without cartoons of Roman statues exposing their genitalia and sailors touching each other up. Not that we'd wish it away - it's all part of what make Of Montreal so splendid. Those who skipped home before the encore missed a treat in the form of a flawless cover of 'Smells Like Teen Spirit', Barnes looking like a camp grunge god reincarnated.
'Let's have bizarre celebrations', trills Barnes during 'Wraith Pinned To The Mist And Other Games', and rarely do lyrics sounded so apt. The giant disco ball in the centre of Koko turns slowly, looking like it has never agreed more.
Image from Redheadwalking's photostream courtesy of the Creative Commons Licence.