Over the years, the stage show for Of Montreal has gotten more and more fanciful, growing to the amazing spectacle that it is today. On the current "Ninjas Prove It" tour, witness frontman Kevin Barnes riding on stage on a white horse, climbing out of a shaving cream-filled coffin and even singing while hanging from a noose, all while a team of friends do interpretive skits to each song.
Touring in support of his latest ear-bending thriller, Skeletal Lamping, Barnes and company have left more than a few mouths agape in the process. When they play on Letterman Thursday night, look for them to push the envelope as far as they can in the three minutes and limited stage size they have to work with. Folks are still talking about their appearance on Conan almost two years ago, which featured lobster arms, several wardrobe changes, a light saber fight and a lot more -- all within the time limit that talk shows impose on live performers (see video).
Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton is this week's guest on Sundance's Spectacle: Elvis Costello with... (Wednesday) an appearance that will no doubt give the series a ratings boost. While not as interesting a "pure" music discussion, Clinton's contributions are still fascinating. Whether it's talking about his idol Sonny Rollins or the king, Elvis Presley, Clinton clearly has a love of music. Costello tries to keep him on the subject of music, but Clinton can't help but stray into the world of politics, and the moments where the two meet, are the highlights. Whether it's Richard Nixon's piano playing or the relationship between playing the saxophone and giving a speech, the line between politics and art gets blurry. In the end, though, Clinton doesn't join in any of the music playing, even though his saxophone is there. Since when is he content to just sit on the sidelines, anyway?
Elsewhere, the Toronto music collective Broken Social Scene plays Letterman on Wednesday night, and will be unknowingly testing the stage limits of the set prior to Of Montreal's appearance. Sometimes contributor Feist isn't currently on tour, so perhaps there's an outside chance she'll lend a hand singing "7/4 Shoreline"? Perhaps we should start a rumor?
Playlist: Picks for the week
Monday, December 15
Tuesday, December 16
Wednesday, December 17
Thursday, December 18
Friday, December 19
Saturday, December 20