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Friday, November 5, 2010

MGMT sticks to clichéd script at the Tabernacle

It’s often difficult to remember that MGMT is a classic rock band at its core. Their albums (Oracular Spectacular and Congratulations) dress the meat of their music with electronic varnishes and often create confusion as far as what genre to place the band in. Their performance at the Tabernacle on Tuesday night showcased the two musical halves. (See concert photo gallery.)

MGMT began the show by quickly giving out a spoonful of their latest musical creation. “It’s Working”, the second single off of Congratulations, started the show with its bombastic intro. Without the elaborate production that can be found on the album, the track stands strong as a modern day surf anthem. Not long afterward, the band played the psychedelic Beach Boys child-choir riot “Flash Delirium.” Even with the lackluster amount of reviews that accompanied their latest album, the sold out crowd — mixed with prepubescent costumed teens and music loving hipsters — chanted along with every syllable.

What was fascinating about the set list is that it was hard to distinguish the difference between old and new songs. Although Oracular Spectacular was viewed as their breakthrough pop album, it was only a selection of singles that grew from that vein. Most of their back catalog could have been copied and pasted into Congratulations. Songs like "4th Dimensional Transition" and "Of Moons, Birds, and Monsters" melted easily with the 12-minute prog rock “Siberian Breaks." As the night continued, they began experimenting with the electronic half of their catalog. Starting with "Electric Feel" and ending with the crowd favorite "Kids."

Their performance on the latter epitomized MGMT as a live act. Although the arrangements stayed true to their format, the stage presence was lost. If it were not for the lavish backdrop of bleeding colors and other clichéd psychedelic videos playing behind them the show would be forgotten. Throughout the night, bandleaders Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden found comfort standing behind their chosen instruments. When they finally stepped away for “Kids,” it was embarrassing to watch them hop awkwardly along the stage. Midway through, they felt the urge to grab their microphones and hover them over the crowd. It obviously was not to engage the crowd into singing because it lasted for only 12 seconds before their arms got tired.

In the end, it was a mix. It was surprising to see that they were able to play live fan favorites without losing the flavor, but quite disappointing because that’s all that they brought with them.

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MGMT at the Tabernacle

MGMT at the Tabernacle

MGMT played the Tabernacle on Nov. 2. (Photos by Perry Julien)

By Perry Julien

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