MGMT at The Olympia on 19-10-13 (15 of 17)-banner

MGMT at the Olympia Theatre,  Dublin on Saturday 19th of October 2013

When MGMT appeared on the David Letterman show a couple of months ago with a ramshackle rendition of Your Life Is A Lie, it raised question marks about the direction the band were taking. Always experimental and uncompromising it appeared that the band had jumped off the deep end into a creative black hole.  Given just how out-there MGMT have gone with the release of their latest self-titled album, it was open for debate just how well their set would gel together.

A large crowd witness MGMT open strongly with Flash Delirium, IntrospectionThe Youth before rolling out one of the big guns, Time to Pretend. The crowd reaction to such a heavy hitter of a song was like being requited with a long-lost lover.

The middle of the set sagged, with Of Moons, Birds & Monsters and drone like Mystery Disease blending into each other but Weekend Wars injected more life back into the gig. One lucky fan got the chance to be on stage as additional percussion on the giant cowbell for Your Life Is A Lie – this should have been be a solid gold opportunity to really act the eejit as the drummer was really the one keeping in time, but alas the poor fan was a little awe-struck by the occasion.

Earlier in the year, MGMT’s  Ben Goldwasser had said that they were continuing the absence of their triple A gold standard song Kids from their set list – “We want to play the music of 2013. No more, no less. Asking us to play ‘Kids’ would be like asking The Rolling Stones to play ‘Gimme Shelter’. Ridiculous, right?” So it was a relief when Kids was finally unleashed and it saw Andrew Van Wyngarden step free from the confines of his guitar where he played to the crowd for the only occasion on the night. The crowd fed off is energy and it begged the question as to why he couldn’t do it more often?

Overall, MGMT were distant with little crowd interaction and almost statuesque lack of movement on stage. The full screen psychedelic projections behind the band were instead the focal point for audience attention with visuals like cartwheeling hot dogs around a likeness of the acropolis during Siberian Breaks.

Gimmicks like the cowbell, video imagery and the mini quadcopter flying around the theatre during Alien Days only highlights the lack of stage presence of the band. It helps that MGMT have such a glittering array of great songs and the latter half of the set is very strong including Electric Feel and I Found A Whistle. A little more showmanship would go a long way to enhancing their live performances as they’ve built up a terrific set and just need to embellish it with a bit more panache.

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Photos: Owen Humphreys