Live Review: MGMT @ Oxford Academy / 21st August ’08

By on Monday, 25th August 2008 at 7:41 pm

This post appeared originally on the brilliant Four Oh Five, and is one in our continuing series of guest blogs from their capable team of authors.

Last night’s Reading Fest warm-up show was probably the last chance anybody here in England will have had to see MGMT in a relatively small venue before they return in November for a full tour, and my God was it worth the trek. Oxford’s recently converted and renovated Carling Academy is on nothing like the scale of their other venues (Brixton etc.), and the benefits of brand new sound and technical equipment are incredible. I only found out about this show at the last minute, and after getting exam results yesterday morning, I am definitely glad I made the effort.

I had total faith that MGMT’s performance would be impressive to say the least, but one thing I was slightly speculative about before the show was how exactly they were going to fill a full set with just one forty-minute album. Their lack of material was easily noticeable during the gig but they covered it well – not just playing but performing the entire album with an epic blend of instrumentals, along with two or three new songs towards the end, and a collaboration with the tremendously dreadful support band (I still don’t know what they were called because they were too drunk to remember to tell us..).

I thought I’d seen some bad warm-up acts before, and I’m usually pretty difficult to please unless I’m already a fan, but these guys were the crème de la crème of shittiness – I would have been less surprised to hear that they’d been dragged from the streets ten minutes in advance than that they’d actually been CHOSEN by somebody purposefully. Think homeless alcoholic tramps mixed with wannabe-rockstar dads and you’re about there. Still, they made MGMT seem even better.

It was nice to see MGMT look so thrilled at the reception they were getting from the crowd, which was made up of an unusual concoction of fans, from fourteen year-olds to forty-somethings, but they worked hard for it and easily deserved it. It was nice to see a band play around with their music for once, rather than just playing it exactly how it was recorded, and this really proved that MGMT are real musicians who know how to make music. And my oh my did they make it well – this show was explosive!

Both photos are taken from Pupkin’s flickr stream under the creative commons license. The top one can be found here and the side one here.

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