A Modern Mystery Holiday Party with Ahmed Gallab of Of Montreal and Caribou

Welcome to the second installment of our Modern Mystery Holiday Party!

Today we hear from Ahmed Gallab, drummer extraordinaire from of Montreal and Caribou.  2008 was a busy year for the band, including the release of the new album titled ‘Skeletal Lamping’ and an extensive worldwide tour.

Ahmed joined of Montreal this year primarily as their drummer but WOW, can he do so much more. He also spreads the love of pizza with all who come in his path.  Ahmed seemed to have added more energy to the already super energetic of Montreal on stage. The Modern Mystery crew was more than excited when he agreed to answer our year end questions for us. We can’t wait to see more of Ahmed in 0f Montreal in 2009!

Ahmed Gallab’s Top 10 Records of the Year

10. Nigeria Rock Special: Psychedelic Afro-Rock & Fuzz Funk In 1970’s Nigeria
9. Nigeria Disco Funk Special: Sound of the Underground Lagos Dancefloor 1974-1979
8. No Age – Nouns
7. Tussle – Cream Cuts
6. Original Silence – The Second Original Silence
5. The Thing – Now and Forever
4. Icy Demons – Miami Ice
3. Spiritualized – Songs in A & E
2. Erykah Badu – New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War
1. Koushik – Out my Window

The Best Thing that Happened to Me This Year:
Tour, Tour, Tour!
I was probably the luckiest kid on Earth this year. I got to play in both Caribou and of Montreal! What an exciting thing to do! I have made so many friends and seen so much in such little time! Here’s to another year of touring!

The Strangest Thing that Happened to Me This Year:
Losing everything!
I lost my driver’s license, passport, phone (i eventually found it!), a hat, four toothbrushes and loads of other small things! it’s so weird!

My Favorite Holiday Memory:
My sisters and I would stay up and watch every single new years TV show and then run around our neighborhood banging pots and pans at midnight yelling “Happy New Year, DUDES!”. I always loved New Years Eve more than Christmas. It always had this freshness to it. Everyone is so excited to finish off one year and start a new one.

My New Years Resolution of 2009:
*Put out two Sinkane records!!! The follow up my last record, “Color Voice” , entitled “Sinkane”, will be released in March 2009 and I hope to record another record for a late 2009 release!
*Learn to surf!

of Montreal will be appearing on the Late Show with David Letterman Tonight, December 18th, at 11:35est Time. Ahmed and the band will be performing ‘An Eluardian Instance’. Be sure to catch it!

Of Montreal * Roseland * October 10, 2008

Big Thanks to EduardoO on Flickr for use of his photos!

I’ve been to about 7 Of Montreal shows in my life, and still I’m never ready for what I am about to hear and see. I had the pleasure of meeting Matt from Youaintnopicasso.com and we kind of pondered what exactly the band could do on stage last night. We knew Kevin would be hung in a noose, but the rest was sort of up in the air. Talking to Ahmed a couple of weeks ago, he promised me that we were all in for some big surprises on this tour. That exceeded my expectations.

Last night’s show at Roseland Ballroom in NYC can be described in only one word; EPIC.

The band came on stage dressed and ready to go. Jamey was in a cowboy outfit complete with hat, Dottie was in a tutu, Ahmed was in a blue vest and Afro wig, Davey was in a silver white jacket, and BP was wrapped in a giant orange silk scarf. Of Montreal came in with a brief musical introduction as four golden buddhas carried out Kevin who was wearing a Sombrero and traditional Mexican outfit. Of course this was the first of many costume changes. ‘Id Engager’ was the first song played, and WOW what a start to the show, that essential Kevin scream. Chills were just sent down my spine.

The band focused mostly on playing new tracks off of ‘Skeletal Lamping’ last night, and if I’m not mistaking, played most of the songs off the record. Seeing the new songs live bring a whole new aspect and life to them, which I really enjoyed. The dance party didn’t stop all night. ‘For Our Elegant Caste’ which has currently won me over the past couple of weeks as my new favorite song was so good live i’m not sure I can believe it actually happened. “An Eluardian Instance” which is another favorite of mine, lived up to my expectations of seeing it live. I think it is one of the most beautifully crafted Of Montreal songs. The band was extremely tight. I think they finally ‘mastered’ all parts of the stage. Ahmed Gallab who has joined as the second drummer is a nice addition. Not only does it free up Jamey to play other instruments but it adds a heavier beat overall to the songs. BP was rocking out with the double head guitar last night which was a nice touch. Kevin’s vocals were spot on every time, every little scream, every little note. Perfect.

One of the most wonderful moments of the night for me, was when Kevin sat at the piano alone and played ‘Touched Something’s Hollow.’ The sound of his haunting voice over the sorrowful piano made it feel like a dream. If you were paying close attention, you could see BP sitting on his platform, looking over at Kevin, silently mouthing the words. It was just an astonishing moment to say the least.

Of Montreal also pulled out some favorites from the last few records, ‘Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?’, ‘Sunlandic Twins’ and ‘Satanic Panic in the Attic.’ One of my personal highlights of the night was ‘Disconnect the Dots’. This still remains to be one of my favorite songs live. It brings the energy in the room up another notch if that is humanly possible. ‘She’s a Rejecter’ had so much enthusiam put into it, I thought the band would collectively pass out from exhaustion.

I feel I have to list the theatrics in it’s own section. They are two very different things and the combination of them onstage is rather interesting. Seeing Of Montreal is really like going to see a play….on another planet. Of course David (Kevin’s Brother) and Nina (Kevin’s Wife) were part of the actors on stage last night along with Matt Wheeler (The band’s tour manager) and I believe Nick (who does a lot of stage prop building for them.) There was also another woman on stage who must be new to the group and i’m going to go out on a limb and say its David’s wife. I could very well be wrong.  Kevin’s costumes ranged from glittery blue jackets with a large bedazzled fanny pack to golden underwear. During ‘Gallery Piece’ there was video of the band acting out lines from the song on the large screens. Truly hillarious.

Amongst the stage antics in New York was Kevin in a mythical man-horse suit, golden buddhas, ninjas, army people with machine guns, people in bathing suits, victorian costumes, a card game, people in in tiger and chicken costumes, large limbs made of what appears to be bumpy plaster (These later made up a person) and more.

During one point, the characters in silver masks tried to convince Kevin to kill himself. This lead to him being hung in a fake noose on stage, swinging side to side. Later on they smeared him in fake blood. During one point, Kevin came out on a white horse and sang. It was gorgeous. A really beautiful concert moment. So unexpected, so unbelievable. How do you even find a horse in Manhattan? I don’t think anyone saw that coming. I’m not sure everyone in the band even saw that coming. Kevin also came out of the his coffin of shaving cream last night towards the end and hugged the crowd afterward to get it off.

Another unexpected surprise last night was when they brought out Andrew from MGMT. We were certainly in for a treat,  but that took a hard left turn that none of us saw coming. Kevin said they were going to play a song that Andrew wrote. I thought to myself, ‘Wow! An MGMT song? I love MGMT!’ but then they launched into Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’. The crowd transformed into 1992. Quite frankily I think Of Montreal made it sound better than Nirvana did.

The band ended the night with ‘Gronlandic Edit’ and all of the characters came out and bowed afterwards, ending another beautiful night with Of Montreal in New York. I love Of Montreal is so many ways. They know how to make you have a good time. They know how to get inside your head. They know how to make you smile. Everytime I see them I love them even more. I’m glad to have their music in my life. If it wasn’t, well, life just wouldn’t be any fun.