Notes on Last Night’s MGMT Concert

08/18/2010 2:12 PM |

This is what MGMT looks like for me, even when Im wearing my glasses. (Credit: YouTube; see below)

  • This is what MGMT looks like for me, even when I’m wearing my glasses. (Credit: “YouTube”; see below)

I was too busy drinkin’ and dancin’ at MGMT’s (often assaultively trebly but totally awesome) show at Radio City Music Hall last night to take the kind of notes that would constitute the backbone of a legitimate review. But! I did scrawl enough impressions in the dark, at the bottom of an already-used notebook page [Conklin—I need more money!], to share a few of my more noteworthy perceptions.

– In my pre-concert fantasies, MGMT opened with “Pieces of What”—and then they actually did!! (“You have gay fantasies” — my girlfriend.) They also played it with an extended intro that included a recorder, or a keyboard effect that sounded like a recorder. (My eyesight has gotten so bad I couldn’t really see what was happening on stage, even with my glasses on.) MGMT can not only get away with using a recorder (or a keyboard effect that sounded like a recorder), but it also actually enhances their sound!

– “Siberian Breaks” isn’t “a really long, rambling tune that spoils Congratulations‘ momentum”: it’s “the most ambitious song on a pop record since Brian Wilson finished Smile“! I just didn’t “get it” until I heard it live—sort of like Elvis Perkins‘ “Send My Regards to Lonelyville,” except that song’s just a good song (and not “one of the most ambitious…”)

– Hearing the generation-defining anthem [I seriously just said that?] “Time to Pretend” with a huge crowd of kids totally into it was as amazing as doing the same thing with “Wake Up” at the Arcade Fire concert two weeks ago, except it was strange to hoot and holler after Andrew VanWyngarden tells you that “we’ll choke on our vomit and that will be the end”. (Hooray?) Although MGMT probably should have saved that song, or another of the more popular ones (“Electric Feel”?) for the encore. It was peculiar being sent home (or, to the Playwright Tavern) on “I Found a Whistle,” though it worked…

-…but that’s also because I think Congratulations is totally rad, and you can tell the audience was much more of a “I only like the hits off of Oracular Spectacular” kind of group; the energy in the crowd definitely sagged during the “new stuff,” much like Arcade Fire audiences seemed to have no interest in anything that wasn’t off of Funeral.

– Speaking of audiences, what’s up with all the bros into indie rock? Like at MSG two weeks ago, Radio City was full up with cargo-shorts n’ sandals, hemp-choker, backwards-baseball cap sorts. Are today’s frat boys just lost and confused without a Dave Matthews Band to cherish?

– That said, it was fun to rock out with a bunch of twenty-year-olds (and under!) not even bothering to hide their joint smoking (for which they received only a stern finger-wag from the usher, an older black woman). I smiled heartily [is that possible?] while watching a boy and girl, both obvious hallucinogen-addicts, play catch with an imaginary beach ball.

Hey! Don’t take my word for it—crappy video of “Time to Pretend” from last night. (Er, it’s so crappy that you do, in fact, have to take my word for it):

3 Comment

  • Wow. This is interesting because seeing MGMT open for Beck was exactly the moment I decided I didn’t need to take my MGMT investigation any further (and I was interested as they hail from my school). Basically, I sympathize with anyone who only really knows the hits from their first record, because when I saw them they were so tediously proggy that I lost any interest in putting up with their faux-passive we-just-do-stuff-and-whatever schtick.

    There were a fair number of bros at Vampire Weekend this past winter, too, which seemed to overlap with a fair number of okay-the-show’s-not-over-but-it’s-10:45-and-I-have-work-in-the-morning-so-peace-out people which I assume is what happens when bands sell over a certain number of copies.

  • someone’s jealous….

  • I had an amazing time both nights. I’m older and I don’t get excited about much anymore. I love their new stuff but then again I love progressive and psychedelic rock. I don’t really care that the new album alienates some fans.