Okay, let me start this off by saying that I like MGMT, so I was open minded heading into the show. That being said I was expecting to hear mostly new stuff off Congratulations, but instead the band turned out a "best of" performance balancing their pop hits with the slower psychedelic rock tracks. I really think they played a very good show last night. The sound was a little mushed, but that may have been do to the sound system or the Field House. Let's face it, the gym is a giant cement box. I started out right around center court and eventually moved back near the sound system - so I could breathe - and they sounded much better. They played a solid set alternating between new and old and popular their lesser known songs. The crowd, at least in my section, was kind of lame. And by lame I mean they were douches. I seriously felt like there were way more than 200 non-students and they were all high-schoolers surrounding me.
MGMT's actual performance was less than spectacular. They lacked the energy that usually comes with a live show, but they played a great set list. I have never heard a show in the Field House that actually sounded good, so I won't knock them for that. It is an open gym, not a venue. I would have liked to see a little more movement from them, but for a college show it wasn't terrible.
The Willowz started the night off with some California garage rock. They were kind of bland, with a generic sound. One of my friends put it best when he said every song reminded him of a different band. They did their job as the opener by getting the crowd moving a little with up tempo songs. They weren't terrible, but I wouldn't pay to see them as a feature act.
MGMT opened up with "Flash Delirium," off their newly released Congratulations. They followed that with what may have been their best performance of the night with "The Handshake." They played an extended version of the final stomp that really got the crowd moving. This song really reminded me of bluesy Pink Floyd. I don't remember the exact set list or order of songs, in fact I don't really remember to much from after the show, but they did play the following:
Song for Dan Treacy, Weekend Wars (great performance), The Youth, Its Working, Time to Pretend, Someone's Missing, I found a Whistle, Electric Feel, Pieces of What, of Moons, Birds and Monsters, and they announced their last song "Brain Eno" putting them at just over an hour on stage. There may have been a few more songs, but that is all I can think of right now. After a quick break they were back up on stage for an encore. They started off with a song I don't know, it was either pre-Oracular Spectacular or an unreleased song, but it was really good. (EDIT: it was "Destrokk" of the Time to Pretend EP). They followed that up with "Congratulations," the final song off their latest album. To end their show they, and what felt like the entire audience, sang "Kids" over a recorded track. The entire Field House was moving, the floor was thumping, as the audience sang both lyrics and the infamous "do da do" of the keyboard.
Personal highlights of the show included "The Handshake," "Weekend Wars," "Time to Pretend," "Its Working" "Electric Feel," which was played much longer than the album version, "Brian Eno," "Congratulations" and "Kids."
Throughout the show the crowd danced, jumped, sang, smoked pot (come on we all saw that smoke coming from the middle of the floor), and swayed along with the songs. Overall I would call the show a success. The way the crowd was moving during their "pop" songs it would appear that the majority of the audience had a good time. The floor was packed the entire night and SCOPE smartly provided free water for everyone. I have heard mixed reviews from others, but everyone I was with really enjoyed themselves.
Including the encore the band played right around an hour and a half, which isn't bad for a college show. (Remember Akon played for like 30 minutes...) According to my count they played about 16 songs, and they covered pretty much their entire range. This was probably the best SCOPE show I have seen and from what I could tell it was very well organized. As a fan of the band I really enjoyed the show. I say job well done SCOPE.
Stay classy, not UMassy.