BY JAMIE DAVIS MGMT are indie’s white knight. Maintaining their cred whilst demolishing commercial radio and MTV, and the whole time managing to act like they really couldn’t care less. The first album was brilliant, the second album was still brilliant, although completely bizarre, and MGMT remain beloved by almost everyone. However, at their show Sunday night at The Mann it just didn’t seem to quite carry over. In short, I was not feeling it, and I suspect neither were they. The Mann Music Center, with it’s tight-as-fuck security and boxed in seats designed for (I’m guessing) enjoying Brahms with a swig of sherry, isn’t exactly easy for a rock band to win over. MGMT opened with a few songs from the new album, then asked everyone if they wouldn’t mind dancing (or even just standing up) and then inviting them to all come towards the front of the venue, which a few brave souls tried to do but were quickly turned back by large men with flashlights.
Even so, the band didn’t play any of their bigger songs until late in the set, by which time everyone was already discouraged and mad at the men with flashlights. However, even though the energy and setlist could have been much better, singles like “Time to Pretend” and “Kids” never fail to make everyone start grinning uncontrollably. You can’t have a bad night with songs like those, even if their new psychedelic sound wasn’t quite working on stage. But perhaps this is all part of MGMT’s secret plan to maintain their indie cred. Obviously any band that shows anything besides total apathy is uncool, and therefore MGMT’s shittiness while playing live is just because their too cool to do anything else.
But I don’t really believe that, unfortunately. If you got up close you could see that Mr. VanWyngarden just looks tired. He probably really didn’t give a fuck, but only because of the constant touring and promotion. Going into the tour MGMT sounded really excited about bringing a great live show to their fans, but now it seems they’ve just slipped back into apathy. Another problem, I suspect, is that the only two musicians who are official members of the band are the keyboardist and the singer/guitarist, all other band members are really not much more than replaceable pet rocks, which doubtless does something to the chemistry. So, an off night, but lose not faith ye believers, MGMT are still realer than ninety percent of the crap they get played alongside of on radio 104.5
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jamie Davis is a recent graduate of Kimberton Waldorf High School. He enjoys Blink-182 more than any Thom Yorke fan should.