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FTPTR: I saw them before they were big!

‘I saw them before they were big’

You can’t pick up a music magazine right now without seeing an article about Of Montreal.

Their album “Skeletal Lamping” is been described as “one of the year’s high-profile indie-rock releases” by the first article about them in a Google news search (

Kevin Barnes’ androgynous persona and wacky-cool performance style has caught the attention of Rolling Stone, which called him the heir of Prince. They are everywhere, arguably making the jump from obscure to mainstream. While your grandmother might not know who Of Montreal is, they are amassing a larger fan base with every magazine and MP3 download.

Why does this matter to us, tucked away in Humboldt County? Because they played here to promote their last album, “Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer,” an album I enjoyed immensely, in February 2007. I did a show preview for the Times-Standard and listened to Of Montreal’s albums nonstop before the show. Come show time, I was seriously disappointed, to the drastic point of puking. Yep, the one and only band in my life that’s made me vomit. It could have been something I ate, but I like to think it was the treble and distortion drowning out the melody and words that made my stomach churn.

Once again, why does this all matter? I saw Of Montreal before they became the next big thing. Sure, it was one of the worst shows of my show-going career.

In that same way, I used to frequent Velvet Teen shows when they played here every other weekend. They got huge in Japan, and with the release of “Cum Laude,” they were rocketed from very obscure indie band to obscure but too cool to drive four hours for a concert in Eureka (they are from Santa Rosa).

The Foo Fighters had their first gig at what is now Jambalaya. Modest Mouse and the White Stripes played here, along with countless other bands on their way to mid-level stardom and beyond.

The importance of these bands is that who knows if this Saturday will be Hillstomp’s last show at Jambalaya before they get huge and never come back.

My point being, going to shows can be hit or miss, but even the misses might turn out to be the best thing since Prince down the road.

(Melody Stone is the entertainment editor for The Eureka Reporter. She’s been covering the music scene in Humboldt County since 2003 and tries to go to as many shows as possible so she won’t be kicking herself when she reads about them in Rolling Stone in a couple of years. You can contact her at or 707-269-7437. Opinions expressed in columns are not necessarily those of The Eureka Reporter or its staff.)


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