I want to be your what’s happening
Dear Kevin Barnes,
Listen, you already know this. You already know that I am completely and madly in love with you. This is why I’ve seen you performing those songs that are so dear to my heart–songs that make me smile, songs that make me dance, songs that make me sing, songs that make me cry, songs that make me feel and long to feel with every fiber of my being, songs that remind me of something that warrants countless memories or should not be remembered at all–four times now.
Each time, in front of me, in your glittered make up and absurd costumes, with your incredible band members, your tiger headed ninja dancers, your absurd stage show, you sang and danced and exemplified all the reasons why I adored you. You, there, on stage, embodied what a rock star meant to me. Your glamour and theatrics never detracted from the very real, very raw and intense emotions that boiled beneath the surface of your psychedelic glammy indie pop indie rock however you want to classify it brilliant music. Your sometimes nonsensical lyrics glimmered with lines and sentiments that I clung to in times when I thought I felt the same.
And last night, last night when I saw you with Love Is All (and for the first time adored your opening band! Thank you, thank you for that. If I had to suffer through the excruciating torture that is MGMT one more time in order to see Of Montreal I would have just died) at Roseland Ballroom, the show that I’d been anticipating for so long despite the fact that you know, it would be the fourth time and it wasn’t the single concert keeping me alive in the desert that was the San Diego music scene, I at once fell that love explode in a fit of none stop dancing and singing and a faint question of where you were, really.
Oh, yes, you were there, in front of me. Through your costume changes, nearly naked on a live white horse, nearly naked with red paint slathered over your body, in a red priest’s cape, covered in shaving cream, performing a series of suicides in every way–pills, razor, gun, and that theatrical hanging, through your various on stage personalities and acts, you were there. And you performed all of Skeletal Lamping–which, by the way, I adore–and even indulged us, your faithful and eager audience with a cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” (we appreciated every moment. We went insane, as I’m sure you expected us to, as you and the band and the song demanded). But, but, there was something slightly off.
When you begged the chemicals to make you feel good again, you weren’t begging, were you? You had been the last time. This time you did it to appease us. We expected a dance party and you delivered one. But I wanted more than just a dance party, I wanted to feel that thrill that came at the height of the song, that explosive chorus fireworks in my head and heart. When you sat alone on that beautiful white horse, sick of sucking this dick of this cruel cruel city, and wondering how to please a woman, you sang beautifully as you always did. But it wasn’t the same as last time, the very last song, when you dangled your feet over the ledge and sat there like a little child, swinging your feet, and reassured me that the creator of what’s not cliche wanted me to not lose hope, and that there is still beauty, you’d take care of me if I took care of you.
Your presence on the stage is such a key part of the performance, you know that, you must. For when you disappeared behind that revolving screen to get prepared for the next great stage act, the audience shuffled and some tried to dance but mostly we were just wishing for your return. Your personality is half the reason Of Montreal is the fascinating and wonderful band that it is. And we, I, wanted you to feel that pain and ecstasy when you sang your songs and made me feel the same way.
And oh, oh, of course, it was a fantastic show and I came out with that sense of energy and desire and potential to do anything at all (and sweaty and with my bow untied and feet aching), and I loved every moment of it. But I do wish you had engaged, more. I wish when you took off those robes you looked at us with that same sadistic seduction you created last few times. That trembling sexual tension ever so apparently and mesmerizing because you knew you were the object of desire to all of us, boys and girls, eyes wide open intent and waiting. I wish I could have sensed your desire to torture us with what we couldn’t have and share with us those psychotic tendencies you had when you sang about those times in your life.
I am, of course, still madly and completely in love with you. And watching you is always an experience on its own accord. But it would be even without the absurd performances and theatrics, it would be if it was just you, the band, and your songs.