MGMT @ The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver; July 24, 2010

As we ventured into the Commodore Ballroom to eventually see the wonderful band that is MGMT, we were greeted with a plethora of colourful outfits and folk of many shapes, sizes, genders and ethnicities.  Face and body paint was also in full array, I imagine to relic the cover of MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular album cover.

Shortly after we entered the venue and purchased some over-priced drinks, the lights dimmed and the opening act, Francis and the Lights, took the stage.  What looked to be a 3-piece (drummer, guitarist, keyboard player) began to groove to a pretty cool, reggae/techno beat drenched with synth and ‘80s new wave guitar tone.  I quite enjoyed what I was hearing.  And then the singer hit the stage.  I’ll admit that Francis and the Lights were entertaining and skilled musicians, but their ‘80s Police/Genesis act was a little much for me.  The lead singer was quite the energetic frontman, however.  He managed to work the crowd into quite the frenzy.

Some 45 minutes after the opening act was through, the lights dimmed and the five-piece band that is MGMT entered the stage.  Lead singer Andrew VanWyngaden grabbed his acoustic guitar in a blue, smokey haze, and all that was visible was his silhouette as he began to strum the intro to Brian Eno.

And they were off!

The next hour and twenty minutes flew by as the band played through songs new and old; EP indie hits like Destrokk, quite a few new tunes from their most recent album Congratulations, such as the aforementioned Brian Eno along with I Found A Whistle, Congratulations, Flash Delirium and It’s Working, and all the hits from their breakthrough, debut album, Kids, Time To Pretend, and Electric Feel.  They also had time to throw in  my personal favourites, Pieces of What and Weekend Wars, both masterfully executed.

To the point of three quarters of the way through the show, they pulled out the big guns by playing Time To Pretend and the crowd went mad.  Unfortunately, they didn’t build on the hype but mellowed out with a few long, slower acid-trip tunes that nearly put a few people into an early slumber.  Just as I thought they had lost the audience, they announced that the next song would be their last, and as the entire crowd realized they hadn’t yet played Kids, the house almost came down.  From the intro kick-drum stomp, the crowd was jumping and didn’t stop until the best song from the evening was over, and even then a few people didn’t want to stop jumping.

As we had all anticipated, MGMT left the stage only to return a couple minutes later.  They had played their biggest songs already so the pressure was off and they cruised through a song I didn’t recognize (some fan I am, eh?), and finished off the first encore with the title track from their new album, Congatulations.  (I won’t mention that we thought they were done after the first encore and that they may have come back on to play one more song after I had exited the premises. Poop.)

It’s one thing to hear MGMT blasting on your computer, iPod, car stereo (etc) but it’s something else to hear them blast your eardrums in person.  I’m quite confident that their live show would make fans out of many who teeter on the fence of uncertainty.  The manner in which they can switch gears from mellow, acoustic ballads like the first 2/3 of Pieces of What to pumping out the last verse of the song in full force is nothing short of spectacular.

With the exception to a few losers in the crowd who thought it would be a great idea to chain-smoke cigarettes right in our faces for most of the show, and then stand right directly in front of us, it was a fantastic show!  I’d highly recommend anyone who is a fan of even one MGMT song to see them live because I’m quite confident you’ll come out wanting more.

Excellent show: 4/5 stars

~ by DR on July 25, 2010.

2 Responses to “MGMT @ The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver; July 24, 2010”

  1. Jealous!!

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