Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Of Montreal and the Vanishing Car Act

Of Montreal at Sonar in Baltimore, April 14th.  Oh yeah.  It worked out perfectly that another installer had a concert in Baltimore the same night so we could car pool.  When driving around looking for parking, most places were $20, so you can imagine my enthusiasm when we found a ramp for $4!  Walking from the parking ramp to my concert was very sketch...I was a little nervous about the walk I would be taking back at midnight, for sure.  Once I got to the venue, however, there were crowds of little indie people.  I've seen Of Montreal 3 or 4 times before, and it's always a group of indies in their 20s or 30s, with a beer in hand and crazy boots, etc.  The crowd in Baltimore were in high school or college, I would say 90% of them were underage.  The venue was a small garage with a stage and some lighting.  Because of this, the acoustics were awful.  My reviews of the opening bands are pretty harsh, and I should say that since I've never heard them recorded, they might possibly be ok, but the sound was so bad that they sounded terrible.  The first opener was Fire Zuave.  Emo/Rock fronted by a long blonde haired tool with smudgy black eyeliner, the drummer was shirtless wearing glasses my dad would wear, and the bassist looking bored and out of place with these weirdos.  Their sound was very U2 fueled, there was a little bit of Incubus and even at times: Bryan Adams.  I think the front man was playing guitar hero in his mom's basement and decided to be a rock god...and this is his attempt.  After a song full of head banging shenanegans, he said "that was a tough one!!"  One of their songs sounded promising, but I wouldn't purchase an album anytime soon.  Inkwell was the second supporting band.  They were more tolerable, but still part of that pop/punk/emo scene.  The little teens LOVED this band.  Their sound was SO chaotic.  What band needs 4 guitar players and 2 drummers?  Seriously...more of a mediocre thing doesn't make it great!  The vocals were just yelling/singing which got really old.  Needless to say, I was really pumped when Of Montreal started at 11.  Unfortunately, we had planned on leaving by 12, so I didn't stay for all of my band.  Of Montreal always puts on a show.  This time, they had 1-4 people on stage wearing costumes and pantomiming scenes sometimes having to do with the song, sometimes not.  The best one, I think, was when they brought out a Christmas Tree and had 3 people come out in pajamas acting all excited for presents.  As they open them up, they have gas masks in them (the old WWII kind) which they are SO happy to have!  They put them on and danced around.  I think Of Montreal is the closest to performance art I can get without going "wtf?!"  They're like contemporary art for music.   A lot of people don't like them or get them, and even I think they're crazy sometimes, but when understood, they're visionaries.  And I LOVE the guitar player with his wings and sideburns.  I'm bummed I didn't get to stay for the whole show, but on the other hand, the sound was so bad and I've seen them before, so I feel like I didn't miss anything.

On my walk back to the car, it was surprisingly deserted but well lit, so it wasn't unsafe, which is wonderful.  I even stopped to take a picture of the old City Hall!  The building entrance into the ramp was locked so I walked over to the garage  entrance...which was also locked.  Umm...panic.  So I'm in an alleyway in Baltimore, who do I have to ask for help?  The garbage men down the way!  They were super eager to help me out, and one was really concerned and kept asking me if I were ok.  They told me that usually the bellmen from the hotel down the way can get in, so off I go.  The bellman says he can't help me if I'm not a guest in the hotel.  I told him I would tip him very well if he helped me find my car, so off he goes!  Once we get to the ramp, however, he says there's nothing he can do, that's not the hotel ramp.  Hrumph.  He takes his sweet time leaving, and goes to shake my hand, obviously expecting a tip.  Um, excuse me, I'm not in my car, you don't get a tip.  So he leaves.  The garbage men leave (again asking if I'll be ok, to which I said, I don't know!).  I finally find this intercom by the garbage bins, and this guy begrudgingly tells me he'll be right down.  10 minutes in an alley later (the whole time thinking about how much I'd have to pay for a taxi back to Columbia or a hotel in Baltimore and what am I going to do?!), a toothless man opens the garage and yells at me saying the garage closes at 11 (the sign says 12, but I'm in his mercy).  I ask him how to exit and he says through this door, so I go and get my car, say a prayer of thanks, pay my 4 bucks into the machine, and drive down and the door is closed.  I drive over the sensor area about 5 times, drive right up to the door, and it is stationary.  I start yelling for that guy, hoping he's just lerking around somewhere.  Screaming in a parking makes me feel so not safe about parking ramps if no one heard my screams...  Finally I go back to the cashier area and find an intercom there.  A lady tells me the door is open.  I'm really pissed now....  Finally, after much intensive troubleshooting about the situation, the chick comes running down, attitude flaming, and opens the door.  Holy moly.  Moral of the story, $4 parking downtown comes at a price.  


  1. holy cow!

    where was the other person you carpooled with? what kind of parking ramp does this? I'm so sorry you went through this issue, I'd be so pissed. Where was the intercom going to? a random shack down the road? so weird. I'm glad it ended ok, though.

    I'm still freaking out about picturing our dad playing the drums shirtless =)

  2. The guy I carpooled with was down the road, but he has a knee injury and walks with a cane, so I was going to pick him up. We were in communication, but I didn't feel it necessary to make him come stand in the alley with me haha. Apparently this happens in Baltimore a lot. Crazy. And the drummer was skinny, nothing like dad!

  3. Oh my goodness. HONEY!!!! That sounds so awful and scary and frustrating and annoying! I have been wanting to read your blog since you texted me that you were blogging about this. My internet hasn't been working til now. I wish I had been with you. It would have been terrible, yes, but I think we would have made a good time of it : ) I wish you didn't have to go through all that... And those warm up bands sound ridiculous. I hate going to a show and having to stand and wait through a band that is no good. Its like a waste of energy to have to stand so long for crappy music. Nothing will beat our original Of Montreal experience! Remember how we prepped ourselves on the drive? Listening and singing along the whole way? Ahhhhhhh memories : ) You are in so many of mine.