MGMT’s Block Party set unfortunately validated the notion that they are listless and boring live performers. And that is painful for me to admit. You see, I’m sort of one of those MGMT fans, the kind that would probably wear neon war paint and a headdress to their shows if the textbook hipster irony wasn’t so apparent to me.
The set started off well, with the group choosing to go with “Destrokk” – a rather random track from the Time to Pretend EP- as the set opener. Despite its obscurity, it is a damn good song, and I proceeded to join about four other people in singing along to all the words. The following songs sounded great too – highlights included “Flash Delirium,” “The Handshake” and crowd favorite “Electric Feel.
But when frontman Andrew Vanwyngarden picked up an acoustic guitar to start off a lengthy run of downtempo songs – “Pieces of What,” “Weekend Wars,” etc. – things quickly went downhill. Seriously guys, nobody wants to hear 12+ boring, directionless minutes of fucking “Siberian Breaks” at a festival, especially when you play it with zero movement, expression or emotion. Come on guys, you’re the headliner of all headliners at this thing.
However, MGMT was able to save the performance from completely going down in flames with its two fall-back anthems – “Time to Pretend” and “Kids,” both of which had thousands of people singing along with every word and the latter of which provoked a dance party to close down the first night of Block Party. MGMT has always had just as many detractors as fans, but Friday’s performance showed that they still have a long, long way to go.
*** MGMT at CHBP 2010 photo by Jason Tang