MGMT (supported by Guards) // Wolverhampton Civic Hall // 13.10.13
Guards kicked off the night playing a short but exciting set. The audience seemed un-enthusiastic for the American band at first but gradually warmed to the trio after a few energetic minutes of their feel-good indie-rock packed with positive vibes. The acoustics were disappointing as the vocals were unclear and unobtrusive against the loud instruments. But this didn’t stop the crowd having a good time, especially paired with the eagerness for the main act tonight, MGMT.
The duo, made up of Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, first broke the music scene back in 2005 with their Time To Pretend EP which featured the hit single Kids. However, as they grace the stages of concerts and festivals, they multiply to form a full psychedelic music force to match even the toughest competitors.
The six-strong band entered the stage framed by psychedelic visuals and the odd spectacle of neon set-list tape. Readying their instruments on the same stage as legends such as Blur, The Who, Slade and Black Sabbath had years before them, the animated Civic Hall seemed full of life and eager with anticipation as the band released the first few notes of their cosmic tinged, psychedelic rock.
The Sunday night was awakened as soon as the first notes for Of Moons, Birds & Monsters were struck, followed by Flash Delirium, my personal favourite Time To Pretend and a ethereal cover of Introspection originally by the enigmatic 60’s guitarist Faine Jade which coated the venue with a trance like atmosphere.
The gaudy, trippy visuals intensified as the gig went on, morphing from galaxies to cascading sweets to shapes and figures of every size and colour. The set-list by then had featured a brilliant mix of old gems such as Electric Feel, I Found A Whistle, Siberian Breaks, It’s Working and Weekend Wars and new tracks The Youth and Mystery Disease which certainly pleased the joyful crowd and created a kind of euphoria in the Hall.
Soon enough, the obscure and monstrous cowbell was brought out onto stage and an excited female fan brought up and handed a large drumstick with which to pound the beats with almighty clonks for the next track, Your Life Is A Lie, featured on the bands new self-titled third album.
It was an entertaining prelude to Kids which, some would argue, as the 21st century’s psychedelic rock disco anthem, could host a show of its own. The crowd surged forward as the un-expected never-aging hit was played. The audience sang word-for-word, triggering smiles of joy to erupt from both the band and audience.
The encore of Alien Days, fittingly paired with an animated spaceship, and Plenty Of Girls In The Sea with Andrew’s dreamy vocals ended the night on a high with the audience still dancing as the gig came to an end.
The night proved that despite a slump in the hype over the band after their 2010 album Congratulations, they are back and fighting with their new album MGMT, the trippiest and obscurest yet. They have embraced their psychedelic vibe and the results are pure magic, and even more so live.