Kevin Barnes likes to dance. And the frontman for indie-pop band of Montreal’s kinetic affinity is extra present in the hip-shaking beats and ethereal melodic progressions on their newest effort, Innocence Reaches. “I was working in a studio in Paris,” says Barnes, “and basically they only had drum machines and synthesizers, so it sort of forced me in that direction and I found it really inspiring and really exciting to get back to that.” The synthetic toolset pushed Barnes to create in a more percussively dominated milieu—perfect for dancing.
The band sprinkles psychedelic rock and '60s funk into their synth-pop, which doesn't suffer from tedious melodic repetition—a killer of many of their electronica brethren. Barnes coos through postmodern ideas, breaking gender roles and the fluidity of attraction and relationships, and hearkens back to those who could pull off being wonderfully weird and magnetically androgynous (think David Bowie or Prince).
Seeing of Montreal perform live is beyond simple music performance. Shows are theatrical affairs with skits and costumes, but Barnes says he's not just acting out his lyrical stories on stage. "It's more connected to the sound, to the music," he says. "I am trying to enhance the energy of the song through the theatrics and visuals."
The music videos tied to Innocence Reaches are loud parties full of diverse, beautiful people, balloons and glitter with a platinum wig-wearing Barnes as the star. Some of them even look like they could have been filmed right on the stage of Meow Wolf's House of Eternal Return, where they perform this Wednesday night.
"Certain [songs] are more exciting or translate better live," Barnes tells SFR. "Songs like 'Let's Relate' and 'It's Different For Girls' feel really good."
Innocence Reaches may sound and look like a total ball, but Barnes says it was the same labor of love that feeds all of their albums. "It's always a challenge," he says. "It's equal parts frustrating, and fulfilling, and exciting." (Maria Egolf-Romero)
8 pm Wednesday Oct. 26. $25.
1352 Rufina Circle,
‘Cause This is Thriller
As Halloween draws near, the b-boys and b-girls of local breakdancing crew 3HC:Holyfaith come together for a spooky night of breaking, costuming and safe family fun dubbed the 3rd Annual Thriller Jam. “We’ll have a youth battle and an adult battle and a well-known artist/b-boy named Ian Arston from Style Elements crew will be teaching a workshop,” organizer Alejandra Avila says. “And don’t forget the costume contest—we’ll be handing out prizes for the most scary, the most funny and the most creative.” So there you have it: a perfect event no matter your age. They’ll probably have candy, too. (Alex De Vore)
3rd Annual Thriller Jam:
Dance workshop: 1 pm; Event: 5 pm Friday Oct. 28. Free.
1614 Paseo de Peralta,
The Walking Dead
Teatro Paraguas’ focus on cultural diversity means the small grassroots theater is the perfect space for a Dia de los Muertos celebration in collaboration with Santa Fe Danceworks. Dance, poetry, music from Hispano folk trio Lone Piñon and a teen performance called
about a death figure who drags a cart and collects the souls of the dead are but a small smattering of the two-day celebration. “It’s a way for us to reach out to the community,” theater founder Argos MacCallum says. “It’s a way for people to not only honor their family members who have passed on to the next world, but to celebrate life.” (ADV)
El Día de los Muertos Celebration:
7:30 pm Saturday Oct. 29. $10.
3205 Calle Marie,
Let’s Talk About Sex
“I know sensuality and sexuality can be a little taboo,” curation newcomer Shontez Morris tells SFR of
, her upcoming Halloween show of erotic artwork. “Everyone experiences these things at some point in their lives,” she says, “and the human body is nothing to be ashamed of.” According to Morris, it’s more about empowerment and beauty than sex itself. “It starts with self-love, and these things don’t have to be distasteful,” says Morris. Several artists are already onboard and Morris says she’ll have even more by the opening. It should be … titillating. (ADV)
7 pm Monday Oct. 31. $7.
139 W San Francisco St.,