Published Aug 06, 2010Make no mistake, MGMT are a rock'n'roll band. Okay, maybe they're a psychedelic rock band, but they're rock nonetheless. And the duo seemed dead set on proving that they're a real live band at their performance at Toronto's Kool Haus. On their current tour, MGMT have added a drummer, bass and keys players, and an extra guitarist to their lineup, which filled out their sound and allowed them to faithfully recreate Congratulations' thick harmonies. Replacing the typical bright spotlights, coloured lights shined on the bandmembers' backs all night and stereotypical trippy imagery like collages of eyes played on a screen between a few towers of lights.
The band opened with "The Youth," before getting right into their hits with "Flash Delirium." One song later, they had the crowd jumping with "Electric Feel." As expected, they played all of their smash singles, including a revamped version of "Weekend Wars" with a nice guitar solo attached. The overlapping vocals in "It's Working" were also surprisingly well executed live, as was the extended jamming on "Pieces of What." It quickly became clear that MGMT live is all about excess. Their songs hit higher highs, lower lows, and somehow they make it look effortless (especially Ben Goldwasser, whose hands you have to stare at to notice that he's even playing).
For the last song before the encore, the band did something strange: they put down their instruments. Goldwasser put on an instrumental track of "Kids" and like MGMT's Andrew VanWyngarden, he took his mic off its stand and walked around stage singing, while rest of the band sung backup and played percussion. MGMT returned to the stage for three more songs, finishing on a soft, intimate note with "Congratulations." In an age where saving your biggest song for last has become the norm, you've got to given them credit for that, even if it's not the song that's stuck in your head on the way home.