Image Credit: Karl Walter/Getty ImagesLast night, an assortment of New York’s cool kids and dweebs piled into Radio City Music Hall to see Brooklyn-based band MGMT go to work.
But before leading men Andrew Wells VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser took the stage, former Wesleyan University schoolmate Francis Starlite opened with his ’80’s pop/funk collective Francis and the Lights. Often dancing into the dark crevices of the stage—arms flailing and legs twirling in ways that’d make James Brown smile—Starlite left the audience in awe. The band’s 30-minute set of pensive jams like “Strawberries,” “Darling, It’s Alright,” and “For Days” more than warmed the stage for MGMT.
The frail twentysomethings of MGMT hit the stage just after 9—bed-headed VanWyngarden in a tee shirt and skinny jeans, Goldwasser with an untucked shirt and blazer, as if he was interviewing for a managerial position at 7-Eleven afterward. Sprayed by primary-colored lights, they started with “Pieces of What” and transitioned to “Brian Eno,” their ode to the famed English producer. They strangely followed with one of their biggest hits, 2008’s synth pop winner “Electric Feel.” Usually such a smash would be reserved for the conclusion. But as I’d learn, they had no intention of saving the best for last.
“We’re glad to be in NYC, our hometown,” said VanWyngarden before launching in to their surfy “Flash Delirium.” Psychedelic images of overlapping eyeballs and geometric figures projected on the stage while fans waved their neon glow sticks to the beat.
Next up was the first track off of their latest album, Congratulations: “It’s Working.” Then they performed another big hit, the bouncing “Time to Pretend.” About an hour in, fans had spent the entire time on their feet. But that soon changed when they broke into “Siberian Breaks.” The audience used the lengthy song to rest. Butts fell to chairs, as did heads to palms. MGMT’s music teeters towards soft rock at times, and with wind chimes twinkling ever so lightly, they’d slowed the show down to a snail’s pace.
Life was revived when “Kids” and its throbbing synths dropped. But it fizzled quickly as the group attempted to end the show with “Congratulations.” They left after, but screaming for more, the fans didn’t move for the exits. Instead, they screamed for more.
What followed was a lengthy, obnoxious encore filled with ear-busting guitar solos and murky album cuts like “Something Missing.” Really, they could’ve done without it. Many became dejected, like they regretted their encore request. It was a dreadful ending for what was great show overall. Understanding that VanWyngarden and Goldwasser were excited to play Radio City, maybe they should’ve let the fans leave a bit earlier.
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