MGMT

-ALBERT HALL, MANCHESTER-

Back from late 2000s mega success, MGMT provide tonight the Albert Hall mandem a chance to relive honking hot summers of 08-09, FIFA soundtracks and Made In Chelsea “coming next” segments.

Braving the Northern chill, I venture to Manchester full of excitement. Although back in the day I didn’t immediately latch on to Oracular Spectacular, leaving it to the cool, rugby kids of my Catholic High school, they certainly left an everlasting impression on the indietronica sphere which thrived almost a decade ago. It’s clear right from the get go once inside the slightly annoying venue that is Albert Hall, Manchester that I realise they’re on a bit of a nostalgia train. That’s despite a unique new take on their style via one of this year’s most coherent and interesting pop records, Little Dark Age.

Tracks such as ‘Time to Pretend’ and one of my favourites ‘Flash Delirium’ get the biggest reception, and I’m thrilled with the more experimental side of the band too. With such a massive hype behind their debut album it’s no surprise their next two efforts were met with such mixed reviews, with their experimentation in particular on MGMT┬áproviding a sound more akin to one of the band’s apparent main influencers, the late and great Syd Barrett.

As the night goes on, the visual effects are becoming more and more interesting to say the least. On a screen about 15ft tall, there’s a digital depiction of a stag on a tron-like road, running through neon tunnels and unsettling landscapes. There are also scenes of zooming flowers and the audience themselves, with various overlayed augmentations which certainly offer an element of unique interaction.

Speaking of the crowd tonight, there are small pockets of constant movement such as the obligatory hopping and finger pointing but as a whole there’s not much happening. You don’t have to go mental for a full 90 as it were, however it’s clear that it’s a gig where most people are only here for the bangers, or at the very least only know the biggun tunes. Despite this there are still roaring responses at the end of songs etc., in particular a rendition of ‘Happy Birthday’ dedicated to one half of MGMT, Benjamin Goldwasser.

Although some begin to yawn during the whacky synth moments, songs such as ‘Little Dark Age’ and the incredible ‘Me and Michael’ remind everyone how this is an act not wanting to rest on their royalty free laurels but create music with an edge, despite being birthed from late 80s pop and post-punk influence. My highlight of the night has to be ‘Electric Feel’ however, with its incredibly cool hook and blissful vocal performance.

As the set draws to a close, it’s certainly made for an entertaining evening of music. With an encore stirring the last hurrahs of a crowd who’ve definitely witnessed a tight and talented group of musicians, it’s time to think about heading home. Playing on a tiny white grand piano, almost as if it was plucked from the bedroom of a local Manc child for the purposes of rock n roll, it’s a strange ending and honestly I haven’t a fucking clue what they’re playing; ah well. You can’t know it all!

MGMT: Official | Facebook | Twitter

Liverpool born music writer with passion for punk and Everton FC