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Review: MGMT brings out its psychedelic side at The Electric Factory

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MGMT | Photo by Noah Silvestry | silvestography.tumblr.com

Connecticut based alt-rock group MGMT paid a visit to the Electric Factory as part of their tour supporting their most recent, self-titled record. While many might know MGMT for its quintessentially catchy hits such as “Electric Feel” and “Kids” off their debut album, the band has developed a remarkably diversified sonic lexicon in their mere 3 records. That said, either a poor mix or the generally muddy acoustics of the Electric Factory made the electronic aspect of their music offered by keyboardist Benjamin Goldwasser tend to become lost, which is a real shame; it’s what makes their sound so unique.

MGMT opened up with “Flash Delerium”, a song off their sophomore album. It’s a song that very well recapitulates the group’s style, beginning with an 8-bit synth intro and moving into driving, psychedelic rock. They worked their way into “Time to Pretend”, during which they incorporated a bit more guitar than is present on the album, making the dynamic synth-rock track into a true rock song. During the third song, “Introspection”, a Faine Jade cover off their most recent record, frontman Andrew VanWyngarden doubled as a cameraman, carrying around a small video camera whose feed was projected onto the large backdrop, not without a fair deal of psychedelic effects, of course. While this certainly was a unique and interesting use of performance technology, the video became the focus of the song and some potential gusto was lost.

Moving back into older material, the group played “Of Moons, Birds & Monsters”, which didn’t realize its full potential until its coda; VanWyngarden’s vocals were a bit muddy for my taste, but the masterly composed synth and guitar theme towards its end sounded excellent, especially for the venue’s acoustics. Those very acoustics, however, did not bode well for the next song, “Mystery Disease”, a noise-rock chorale from the new record. That said, I thoroughly enjoyed both “Weekend Wars” and “Siberian Breaks”, which both voyage through the dissonant and elaborate melodies and sounds of the 60s and 70s; both tunes use barely any artificial instrumentation and ended up sounding beautiful.

The best performance of the evening, in my opinion, was “Electric Feel”, a song that is definitive of MGMT’s musical identity. I appreciated their willingness to replace its near hectic electronic coda with a guitar solo, once again lending well to the venue and running in conjunction with the psychedelic rock theme of the show. For encores, they offered “The Handshake” and “Congratulations”, two songs with a slower pace that ended up leaving them somewhat unremarkable.

I cannot say much about MGMT’s opener, Kuroma; their upbeat rock style fell prey to the venue’s sound, though I give them credit for bringing energy and enthusiasm. MGMT’s performance at the Electric Factory could have been better; songs like “Cool Song No. 2” and “Your Life is a Lie” that shine on their most recent record ended up sounding busy and lacked clarity. While there was no lack of energy and spirit, the band could have done a better job engaging the crowd. That said, fans were definitely enjoying themselves, and after all, the point of a concert is to have fun, isn’t it?

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: MGMT at the Electric Factory, Alice Smith at World Cafe Live, XPN Welcomes Declan O’Rourke at Tellus360 and more

Photo by Danny Clinch
Photo by Danny Clinch

Alt-rock stars MGMT will play the Electric Factory tonight in support of their self-titled album, which was released in September. The band blasted onto the world’s radar a few years back with hit singles “Time to Pretend”, “Electric Feel”, and “Kids”. Since then, their sound has transformed and become more low-key but is still very MGMT. Watch them calmly convince you that “Your Life is A Lie” below and get tickets here.

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Just Announced: MGMT playing one night (maybe two?) at The Electric Factory in December

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MGMT release their self-titled new album today and have announced a tour that brings them to the Electric Factory on in December. The psych-pop duo broke through the scene back in 2008 with Oracular Spectacular, an album that landed on many best-of lists.  The December 3rd appearance at the Electric Factory was announced this afternoon; tickets for the show go on sale September 28th and will be available here. The tour dates announced earlier today via Consequence of Sound, however, list two Philly dates – so perhaps a second night will be announced imminently? In any case, watch MGMT’s new music video for “Cool Song No. 2″ and below, and check out a video of them performing “Plenty of Girls in the Sea” live on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon after the jump.

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The XPN New Music Tuesday hot list

Haim
Haim

Throughout the day it’s new music Tuesday on XPN; here’s a little sampler of some new records to dig into. Below are new songs from roots rockers Deer Tick, Blitzen Trapper and Sarah Lee Guthrie and Johnny Irion, the sunshiny future classic rock sound of the Haim sister, the kaleidoscopic brilliance of MGMT and The Polyphic Spree, our “Gotta Hear Song of The Week” from the San Francisco orchestral-pop band, The Family Crest, and The Head and The Heart.

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Tonight’s Concert Picks: Guards at Kung Fu Necktie, Elephant Stone at The Fire, Simian Mobile Disco at Making Time, The Coup and Lushlife at Underground Arts

XPN Welcomes emerging indie three-piece Guards to Kung Fu Necktie tonight. The New York project is spearheaded by Richie James Follin, frontman for Willowz and a former live guitarist for Cults (which his sister Madeline sings for). The group’s doom-meets-power pop vibe makes their seven-track EP an unexpected dance party staple, which you can pick for free below. Tickets to tonight’s 21+ show are available on our concert calendar here; the performance starts at 7:30.

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