Gig Review: MGMT @ The Night & Day Café, Manchester, 1st March 2008

It would have been nice to end a great week of gigs on a high, but it wasn’t to be. We bought tickets to see MGMT at the Night & Day as soon as they came out on the understanding that the brilliant Scottish trio Frightened Rabbit would be supporting. A few days before the gig Frightened Rabbit disappeared from the listing on the Night & Day’s website and we were left umm-ing and aah-ing as to whether we should bother to go at all. The weather was shit for a start: it was pissing down and freezing cold, but we eventually made a break for the bus stop and arrived in town with enough time to grab a margarita at Rodeo in the Northern Quarter. We hadn’t been to Rodeo for a good few months but in that time they seem to have completely forgotten how to make a decent margarita, which, for a bar that specialises in margaritas, is worrying. No wonder there weren’t many people in there at 9:00pm on a Saturday night.

Later, at the Night & Day, lone support band, Virgin Passages, singularly failed to capture the imagination of a packed audience, and it was no wonder with them being a quiet six-piece experimental folk combo from London supporting some psychedelic electro popsters from Brooklyn. We were standing close to the stage but could barely hear them over the collective indifference of the vast majority of the crowd, though what we did hear sounded ok.

MGMT didn’t sound much like the psychedelic electro popsters we were expecting. They sounded pretty dull, to be honest, more conventional indie rock than anything, with guitars being the dominant instrument in their live sound rather than the keyboards and sequencers that seem to dominate their records. “Time To Pretend” had none of the sparkle of its recorded version, with its signature synth riff lost somewhere in the poor sound mix. The 70s disco of “Electric Feel” fared a little better but by then the night had defeated us. JustHipper was not enjoying it at all and was convinced that every song sounded exactly like The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”; obviously the effects of a bad margarita. We left after about six songs. At least the rain had stopped by then.

MGMT – Time To Pretend

What we missed:

Frightened Rabbit – The Modern Leper (from the forthcoming album Midnight Organ Fight)

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