MGMT at First Avenue, 11/18/13

Categories: Last Night
MGMT_Mark_Kartarik.jpg
Photo by Mark N. Kartarik

MGMT
with Kuroma

First Avenue, Minneapolis
Monday, November 19, 2013

Is it a good or a bad sign when a show has to move from a larger venue to a smaller one? For one, Andrew VanWyngarden, the lead singer of MGMT didn't care.

He told the audience, "It sure is cool to play here at First Avenue," bringing cheers from the young group of kids there to see the band's style of ambient indie rock. So, for those who could drink, they did, and the ones who snuck in something else, they used it. For the sober ones, the evening could have used a little pick-me-up at times.

See Also: Slideshow: MGMT at First Avenue, 11/18/13


For a band that made a name around dance music, MGMT lack the moves onstage. But what they lacked, they made up for in screen projections behind them. The band was comprised of VanWyngarden, his collaborator, Ben Goldwasser, and opening band Kuroma that turned into the backing band for MGMT -- what a financially efficient way to tour. The group opened with "Weekend Wars" off of their breakout album Oracular Spectacular.
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MGMT_Mark_Kartarik_2.jpg
Photos by Mark N. Kartarik
Songs off the band's second album, Congratulations, and newest, MGMT, took the group in a different direction. A band that wrote catchy, synth tunes took on psychedelic '70s rock, losing some fans while gaining others. A few of those pieces such as "I Found a Whistle," "Introspection," and "Flash Delirium" fell into the zone of "weird for the sake of being weird," although "Of Moons, Birds and Monsters" off Oracular already showed signs of change in the band's sound. Anyone that paid attention to the screen projection behind the group was treated to intense scenes from flying birds to aliens to nonsensical pictures.

Though not considered to be a shoegaze band, MGMT fits the role perfectly at times, especially when Andrew brings out his falsetto. One of the group's bigger hits, "Electric Feel," was immediately recognized in the beginning riffs, making the audience cheer to the pulsing synth-driven kaleidoscopic piece.

What everyone was actually waiting for was the massively fun "Kids." As soon as Goldwasser hit the first notes, all of the kids were off their feet. Phones were pulled out as VanWyngarden took his hand-held camera and pointed it at the audience. So meta. With their extended bridge, the band got to jam on three different keyboards, stretching the piece to over eight minutes and extending the party a little bit longer. Hopefully this is not a parallel to the band's career -- living off the one hit. As the group gathered after the bridge to finish out the song, MGMT was in their element, and reminded everyone that they still knew how to throw a party.


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13 comments
Abby Hermes
Abby Hermes

They were better than I thought they would be...I've heard awful things about them live, but I thought it was good? Maybe I was just too in awe of Andrew VanWyngarden to notice :P

mollypop
mollypop

The whole comprises the parts. The parts compose the whole. So, the band comprises the members.

Using "is comprised of" is never correct.

Jake Wikstrom
Jake Wikstrom

I thought they were fantastic live, probably because I loved their second album and their latest album.

Cate
Cate

This is idiotic, and the sound guy would have been better off giving that setlist to someone who would actually appreciate it. They aren't a electronic dance band and I really wish that people would learn how to get over it. Their new albums have been challenging, but they are still talented musicians. I almost wish that they had never come out with "Kids," because then maybe people like this reviewer would shut up and actually give their other stuff a chance. 

Pro-tip: don't review a show if you admit to not liking the band's more recent material. 

ludwitr
ludwitr

Is there any band that city pages likes, or once a band gets popular are they always, and automatically "meh"?

siberianbreaks
siberianbreaks

Good thing everything is subjective and reviews don't really matter. I get tired of people complaining about their 'lack of stage presence'.. they're not dancers. Andrew is a bit shy and he did interact with the crowd some. This was one of my favorite concerts I've been too. but I am someone who absolutely loves all 3 albums, and their different style of songs. Couldn't ask for more

Annie Larson
Annie Larson

That's a bummer. I saw them open for a band when they were getting started and they did a great job then.

Perri Pryor
Perri Pryor

I'm not surprised. The band has gone out of its way to drive off fans with two crappy albums.

Brad Omland
Brad Omland

Yep, this was definitely a bland concert. Wasn't impressed.

cags777
cags777

@Cate - I didn't know writers actually have to like a band before they review an album or a show. Good to know.

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