MGMT – Live

MGMT have not repeated the level of commercial success of their first album, Oracular Spectacular, but that’s probably a good thing....
MGMT : Live

MGMT : Live

MGMT have not repeated the level of commercial success of their first album, Oracular Spectacular, but that’s probably a good thing.  Instead they have made consistently engaging, if heavily scrutinized, material that is consistent with their first album without mimicking it.  Their most recent tour came to the Egyptian Room of the Old National Centre in Indianapolis on Friday, November 15th, less than two months after the release of their latest, self-titled album.  Of course the audience would hear “Kids”, “Time to Pretend”, and “Electric Feel”, but it might be expected that a band who just released their third album would be in promotional mode and lean more heavily on new material around the obligatory hits.  However, just the opposite happened.  MGMT played the majority of Oracular Spectacular, and even most of follow-up Congratulations (QRO review), but only four songs from MGMT.  They may not be doing what people expect on record, but they seem willing to give the people what they want live.

MGMT’s psychedelic tendencies lend themselves well to live visual displays and they capitalized on this with a surprisingly large and technically impressive projection behind them, along with a solid light show.  The content varied from song to song, but all featured dizzyingly vibrant colors.  Like their music, the video was often a modern update of classic work, such as digital manipulations of some of animator Vince Collins work from the 1970s.

Hank SullivantThe opener was Kuroma, a band led by Hank Sullivant, MGMT’s touring guitarist and the former bassist for The Whigs.  In fact, the rest of Kuroma acted as MGMT’s backing band.  However, Kuroma’s set was tepid.  Their songs were often unfocused, at best resembling a ‘90s college radio version of Big Star.  It was unsurprising to later learn that Sullivant attended the same high school as Big Star’s Chris Bell.  Towards the end of their set, a highlight stood out.  “Heavenly Justice” distinguished itself by being full of energy, tightly composed, and flat out rocking, while most of their set rambled.

Andrew VanWyngardenBen GoldwasserMGMT’s stage presence was understated.  They let their music and their visuals provide the energy.  The fervor stirred by the first notes of “Electric Feel” and “Time to Pretend” could still be felt in the following songs.  However, things opened up in the encore.  Right off the bat, they introduced “guest percussionist” Andrew Luck, quarterback of the Indianapolis Colts, along with offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo.  After a long ovation, each played the simple yet powerful cowbell part on “Your Life Is a Lie”.  Then, for the first time that night MGMT elicited crowd participation, leading the audience in a countdown and scream that led into “Kids”, which closed the show.  Despite what some critics say about how they’ve followed up Oracular Spectacular, following their muse in the studio will work out just fine for them as long as they keep putting as much effort into giving fans an experience in concert.

Concert ReviewsSlider