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Janelle Monae brought her monochromatic stage apparel and hypersonic funk-pop-soul musical concoction to the 9:30 Club stage as the opener for Of Montreal Monday evening, the first of their sold out two-night stay—-and promptly stole the evening before Of Montreal even hit the stage. Monae seemed to know in advance that she would…I mean, what other opening act drops balloons on the audience at the end of their set? Channeling James Brown, Grace Jones, and well, ewoks, Monae’s vocal beauty come-hithered the audience like the call of a siren, and before long, her magnanimous energy and non-stop dancing converted the 930 from a music club into a 1200-person dance hall.
Of Montreal came out determined though with a multitude of stage props, like armed fish creatures in gas masks, women in angel wing cloaks, and lots of persons in head-to-toe bodysuits who, for some inexplicable reason, kept attacking lead singer Kevin Barnes. Later, these included a giant TV screen onstage—-watched by monsters in pajamas, as Barnes was projected playing from what looked like the alley—-and a 10 foot tall spaceman display, among others. It seemed like there was a different prop for each song, which, over the course of almost two hours, had a tendency to cause stimuli overload. While the music may not have held up to the display, at the very least, it was most definitely a colorful feast for the eyes.