OF MONTREAL BEN ROUSE

FRI OCT 21

Of Montreal w/TEEN; Wonder Ballroom, 128 NE Russell

The first time I saw Of Montreal live kind of felt like puberty—I was 15, sweaty, nervous, and surrounded by a support system of glittery friends and strangers. At that age, the walls of my childhood bedroom were plastered with the Southern experimental pop group’s posters, but even as a veteran listener, I felt out of place as I stood waiting for Kevin Barnes to explode onstage like a pink, swirling bath bomb. Though at first I felt far too square, young, and sober to access Of Montreal’s psychedelic, free love, my teen insecurities soon melted away and I became one of them—a self-assured disco sweetheart rising from the crowd in a cloud of sparkles as “Wraith Pinned to the Mist” blared before me. I watched as Barnes strutted across the stage and tossed his scarf with nonchalance, surrounded by dancers dressed as farm animals with human genitalia. Right then I realized just how holistic an artistic lifestyle the band’s members lead, and that there was no way this would be the last time I’d witness them living it. Of Montreal works in the business of identity definition, and their über-glam indie rock is deeply entrenched in overt sexuality and gender play. Pleasure as protest isn’t new, but their ever-growing catalog continues to present dance fare with purpose and freshness.

SUN OCT 23

Rock for Rockwood w/M. Ward, The Thermals, The Helio Sequence, Emily Wells; Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark

It’s easy to take music for granted when you grow up in Portland. The Decemberists filmed a music video at my high school, it seemed impossible to attend a free show or walk down Hawthorne without bumping into STRFKR or Wampire, and the standard for house shows was set high. I was jaded; as an angst-ridden teen, I wanted escapism, not music that reminded me of my own neighborhood. The Thermals broke this mold. Upon hearing the lo-fi rock masterwork More Parts per Million, my perspective on Portland music and lead singers with nasal voices changed—I loved them. The Thermals have come a long way since that first cheap bedroom recording, but they’re still indispensible stalwarts of Portland music. Playing Revolution Hall seems fitting—they’ve cleaned up and grown, but continue to churn out guitar rock with the kind of angsty discontent that could only come from the Pacific Northwest. Proceeds from Rock for Rockwood benefit the new Rockwood Boys & Girls Club, which supports children in an underserved community.