MGMT – ‘Electric Feel’
It’s not everyday that my choice of gig overlaps with that of screaming teenage girls, but this was not the only surprise that MGMT’s live show offered. Having recently ditched the two-guys-and-an-iPod setup, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden now lead a rather sharp five-piece band, giving the the songs’ complexion a total makeover in the process.
The glam-pop sheen that has drawn comparisons to the Scissor Sisters has been greatly toned down in favour of a more straight-ahead stadium rock sound befitting the great ‘hair’ bands of the ’70s. Not only do the new arrangements represent a startlingly smooth transition, but in this guise I dare say the material holds a far wider appear than the exuberant (and occasionally brash) electro stylings of Oracular Spectacular.
Having signed a six-figure record deal with Columbia, topping the tip-lists for 2008 and making the all-important appearances on Jools Holland and David Letterman, their impending ascent into the mainstream seems all but guaranteed by the sight of an exceptionally young and enthusiastic crowd at La Maroquinerie.
But if that wasn’t enough, a group of airhead American students push towards the front mid-way through the set with all the tact and stealth of a deranged rhino. They are here for one thing and one thing only: to hear the song ‘Kids’ (which, I now suspect, will be the band’s breakthrough single). This becomes painfully clear, not because of some gut instinct it stirs within me, but because they rather inconspicuously shout: “Kids! Kids! Kids!” over and over – that is, when they’re not busy taking pictures of themselves or piercing the ears of those around with mind-numbing chatter at volumes that can compete with the band’s PA.
Naturally, the moment they’ve been waiting for comes with the encore. Giving ‘Kids’ the backing track treatment, the band take a break as Goldwasser and Van Wyngarden enact something akin to Hanson at a drunken karaoke session. It’s a far, far cry from everything that has come before but, somewhat surprisingly, it goes down just as well if not better. Nevertheless, there is enough in the songs themselves to guarantee the aforementioned inevitable success no matter what format they choose; but after this performance, I know which one I’d prefer more of and I just hope someone will nail them down for a live session but before they’re just too big. Daytrotter, I hope you’re listening!
- Weekend Wars
- Time to Pretend
- The Handshake
- Future Reflections
- Fourth Dimensional Transition
- Pieces of What
- Electric Feel
- Of Moons, Birds, And…
- Kids (sung w/ backing track)
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Make sure to catch MGMT live at Whelan’s, Dublin on March 8th!