Yeasayer / MGMT The Bourbon, Vancouver BC February 1

Bringing your "sound” out of the studio and onto the stage is no easy business. It’s especially difficult when that sound hinges on the production as much as it does the actual playing. And since this is the case with Brooklyn newcomers and recent hype magnets, MGMT and Yeasayer, a lot was lost in translation during their recent Vancouver stop. In the case of MGMT, who started the night at a filled-to-capacity Gastown club, the two-piece turned five-man touring band didn’t even try to replicate their eclectic debut, Oracular Spectacular. Instead, they dropped all their fun-loving electro tendencies — perhaps the only tendencies that make Oracular at all passable — for a standard rock aesthetic built on imitating years’ worth of Sparks records. And while this is perhaps fine in theory, in practice, MGMT’s set became a sloppy collection of drawn-out and forgettable prog-meets-glam jams that proved, live, this band are average at best. Disappointingly, Yeasayer’s set fared little better. Taking the opposite approach of MGMT, the four Brooklynites did their damndest to recreate the lush symphonic flourishes and dense musical Afrocentricities of last year’s widely acclaimed All Hour Cymbals. However, without all the layers of worldly instruments, hazy synthesisers and backing choral work, Yeasayer’s pared-down sound struck a dull emotional middle ground, making their spiritually tinged David Byrne/Talk Talk/Animal Collective-inspired approach no longer seem so inventive. It also didn’t help that the band simply appeared to be going through the motions, mechanically delivering an unenthusiastic show with few, if any, memorable highlights — well, unless you consider seeing a fretless bass a highlight. But at a time when all a band needs is a Pitchfork score of 7.8 or higher to "make it,” lacklustre performances such as this one hardly matter in the larger scheme of things.