Venue: Leeds Cockpit
Oracular Spectacular, the Brooklyn duo’s debut album showcased a band with the ability to deliver a string of catchy, psychedelic synth anthems with big choruses and danceable beats. It is thus a bit of a surprise when the five piece live act, fronted by Andrew VanWyngarden garbed in an eye catching multi-coloured robe and bandana, come out with epic bursts of noise rock. Visually stunning, although not particularly gregarious, the band evidently feels more comfortable letting the music do the talking for them.
VanWyngarden’s Bowie-esque vocals are placed low down in the mix in favour of a wall of sound which can only be described as Sonic Youth meets Led Zeppelin. Squealing guitars and monstrously large riffs are backed up by powerhouse drumming and droning keyboards. This is not some low key indie-er than thou performance, this is music with ambition. Despite this spectacular transition, MGMT are canny enough to know what their audience has come to see. The singles ‘Time to Pretend’ and ‘Electric Feel’ are carried off with aplomb while the sublime ‘The Youth’ leaves the crowd swaying and ‘Kids’ inspires a singalong. MGMT manages to pull off that rare trick of giving the people what they want while offering a live experience that is not merely a stale reproduction of their recorded work.