NXNE Review: Oberhofer, Of Montreal, Portugal The Man, June 16, Yonge Dundas Square

Saturday night’s show at Yonge Dundas Square was definitely one of the most hyped of all of NXNE. While the two bands i was most interested in seeing were both ones i had seen just over a year ago, both Of Montreal and The Flaming Lips put on solid, entertaining shows, so it’s pretty hard to pass them up. I arrived early to check out Oberhofer, a band I had heard some hype on and was curious to check out. I don’t actually have much to say about Oberhofer’s set, so I’ll steal a page out of IKvsDK‘s playbook and just post what other people said on twitter. Let’s start with the man himself:

@IKvsDK Oberhofer is quite entertaining #nxne

OK, fair enough, the band played some decent, catchy indie rock, and I was somewhat entertained by frontman Brad Oberhofer’s stage antics and numerous “Woo’s” into the mic, but while they were good, I wasn’t overly impressed. I think this tweet says it best:

@leahbobet The Oberhofer set, we decide, is neither offensive nor exceptional. It’s a band. It’s there. #NXNE

After Oberhofer’s set, I was primed for Of Montreal’s trademark wackiness. It was a typically solid performance with colourful stagewear on the band’s part, people in pig masks crowd surfing, staged wrestling matches, and a guy who was briefly dressed as the god Pan I think. Fun times. I can only imagine what the guys preaching on the corner across the street made of the shenanigans. The party’s crashing us now, indeed.

Logically, the one-two punch of Of Montreal and The Flaming Lips back to back would have been a no brainer, but whoever scheduled this thing decided to slot Portugal The Man between those two made a bit of a miscalculation in my humble opinion. The Portland rockers started out promising enough, but that early promise shortly turned to “meh” as their set went on. Singer John Baldwin Gourley’s got a strong, bluesy voice, and the band was talented enough, but their set was a bit of a one note performance to me, much of it seeming a bit samey after awhile. I appreciated their cover of The Beatles’ “Helter Skelter,” but when they ended their set with the coda to “Hey Jude,” I found it to be veering on the edge of shameless crowd pandering. Two Beatles songs? Come on. While there was nothing wrong with their performance, they bored me a little bit. Then again, when sandwiched between two such colourful bands, it’s a little hard to really match that.

Posted on by Paul in Everything, North By Northeast