The fifth element 

Montu with DJ Kilter
9 p.m. Saturday
Kamp’s Deli & Market
1310 N.W. 25th

When Norman’s Montu started to mull over who to bring in to jam with the band next, they opted for a visual approach, rather than aural, and radiation proved to be just as capable as resonance.

“One of the first purchases we made as a band were these five LED light tubes,” said bassist Jon Godsy. “It’s turned out to be a really great purchase.”

Said guitarist Zane Russell, “It’s like a fifth man, another element to jam with the band. With a live show, it’s as much an experience as it is anything else. If the lights are working with the music, it just intensifies the whole encounter.”

Just has the band’s visibility has grown in the Oklahoma music landscape, so has its light show, which has seriously ramped up since a good friend decided to run lights for the act, bringing in more sophisticated equipment, scanners and lasers.

It’s all about creating something to remember — in every sense of the word — for the four-piece that started as a modest jam session between Godsy and keyboardist John Barkley on a single amplifier. A drummer in Colby Cowart followed before Russell came aboard, and it’s been a big party ever since.

“It’s jamtronica, for people who know what that is,” Russell said. “Hippie dance music, for people who don’t.”

Montu has garnered a strong following in both the jam scene and electronic circles, and that, in turn, has done wonders for the genre-benders.

Being relatively unrivaled locally in the subgenre has afforded the group quite a few major opportunities, despite only being active sense 2008. In their short time together, the guys opened for many of their heroes, including everyone’s favorite mash-up DJ.

“Girl Talk was just insane,” Barkley said, “but I think Disco Biscuits was a little more fun for us. It was a good mix of their fans and our fans, instead of just a sold-out show with drunk 16-year-old girls."

Said Godsy, “Playing with those big bands makes things feel a little more attainable. I can see it better; it feels closer.”

As much as they enjoy the big shows, their own headlining gigs are more fun. Those shows have always been smaller — functioning as an obligation for their pals, mostly — but more and more, the band finds itself playing for both new and familiar faces.

“We had a crowd that was mostly our friends,” Cowart said, “but now it’s people coming out for the music, and that’s a great thing to see.”

Montu now finds itself on the verge of a trek to California, in addition to playing many more shows locally (like Saturday’s appearance at Kamp’s Deli & Market) and pursuing the possibilities of releasing more recorded material — namely live albums — although albums only paint half the picture that the band hopes you will come see in person.

“This kind of music is so aimed at a live performance, it’s certainly not something you listen to if you’ve just broken up with your girlfriend,” Russell said. “It’s getting your buddies together and going to have a good time. If you want to see it, you’ve got to see it. It’s something you aren’t going to get from a CD. Every show is improv, every show is unique, and you’ll never see the same show ever again.”

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Joshua Boydston

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