MGMT, Television Personalities

Steven Morgan 18/03/2010

Rating: 2/5

The hype was huge for this show. With MGMT (pronounced 'mugmut') debuting songs from their much anticipated second album Congratulations in a venue far too small to cater for their bulging fan base, this evening should have been an opportunity for the band to try out some of the new material live in front of what you'd expect to be a receptive audience. Sure it was a ridiculously early stage time of 20:45 to kick things off, but it’s midweek and this is a special show for the fans, right?

Instead, indifference fills the air broken only when big singles from Oracular Spectacular get an airing. This isn't helped with a stage volume level so ridiculously low the conversation around you drowns out any engagement you can get from the music you hear. It's evidently noticed by the band whose attitude seems almost resentful of what they see before them. They're hardly the biggest showmen anyway, but with comments like "...the title track off our new album, descent into obscurity", and with faces reminiscent of Monday morning at an office job it's never a good state of affairs.

The change of direction in the sound with the new material is particularly evident with a set that intersperses the old and new. Gone mostly are the quirky eighties synths and big, catchy structures and danceable rhythms replaced with more rambling song structures, a certain moroseness and influences instead drawing from the seventies.

The first recorded preview of the new album in the form of Flash Delirium was mostly met with mixed reactions to its glam Bowie stylings and structuring akin to Kevin Barnes. I was wondering if maybe it was one of those songs that would make more sense live, but alas with the volume so low and the atmosphere so negative, if anything it seems to fall even flatter in these circumstances.

With Time To Pretend and Kids both yet to air as the band returned for the encore, the atmosphere erupted for the few minutes as the opening squeaks to Time To Pretend played out. However, this goodwill is quickly lost when the encore concludes with the notable omission of the big single Kids. The crowd reaction is massive as a repetitive chant of "kids!" bellows out whilst the house lights rise and the background music plays. I guess they really wanted to hear them play Kids. The band, however, did not.