Live Review: MGMT in London
Psychedelic warriors, MGMT, have officially crossed the rainbow mountain. Alien Days, the first song lifted from latest, self-titled longplayer, is a gentle and melodic reminder of just what makes these Brooklyn boys so ultimately special. Intriguing chord progressions, curious subject matter and that wry smirk which underlines everything they do. Are they partially kidding? Are they frighteningly serious? Who can tell? More importantly, who cares?
Their headlining show at London’s Kentish Town Forum proves not only are they not kidding, but they’re making the kind of introspective music that will undoubtedly keep the fire going for decades and beyond. It’s an interesting live show they carry. Without accounting to any major showmanship, nor any communication with the audience, alls you’re really left with, is an acid fused visual show backlighting the band and the lingering, inter galactic atmosphere of the music. If anyone was in search of a nu tribal/dance party, tonight will have disappointed.
For that reason, older tracks inevitably get the strongest reaction. Playing mega hit Time To Pretend second on feels like a duty, a ‘lets get it outta the way, so we can get to the real shit’ kinda vibe. Followed by a positively divine The Youth and Of Moons Birds and Monsters, also from debut album Oracular Spectacular we’re reminded of just why they made such a significant imprint on the pop scene when they first emerged in 2007. Leaving a post-MGMT period in their wake, with bands like Foster the People and The Naked and Famous intelligently ripping off the band’s sonic aura and, in some unfortunate circumstances all the way down the pop ladder, we saw their key tribal/futuristic get up prostituted on acts like LMFAO (it took me 20 minutes to recall the name of that unfortunate act, my last Google search was “bad hair stupid glasses dance act America” shockingly that didn’t work.)
My point being that MGMT’s reach has been far more profound than most bands who’ve sold twice as many albums. That’s surely down to their sheer sonic magnitude and foresight. A divine collision of music and visuals, which simply worked on that first album. Follow-up, Congratulations garnered a cruel reaction from press and music fans alike, however they clearly sought a different kind of music lover: older, wiser and potentially around during the first wave of Psychedelica in the 60s. This is evident at tonight’s show, particularly with the white haired, smiley man in front of me wearing the Elmo T-shirt.
From their sophomore album we hear an epic Siberian Breaks, which twists and rolls for minutes on end followed by surefire, crowd pleaser Electric Feel. Having only listened to their latest album a couple times, I’m not overly familiar with the songs, however tracks such as Plenty of Girls in the Sea and Your Life is a Lie don’t lead us too far off their beaten track.
And what a long, winding, colourful path I predict that to be.
With the last chords of Congratulations ringing out, we’re left with a great big smile on our face and the warmth of these magical, mystical songs in our hearts.
Review by Golden Lady