Concert Review: MGMT, April 29, Mod Club

Toronto – Thursday night saw MGMT in town to promote their polarizing sophomore album Congratulations, which was released April 13th, 2010. I’ve listened to this album a few times and was kinda okay with it, but it wasn’t the atrocity some people made it out to be and of course, not the anthem filled album that the debut was. The all ages show at the Mod Club was sold out in minutes, making this night feel like a more intimate affair then it could have been. Having seen MGMT before at V-Fest, I was interested in seeing them in a more smaller venue. I had quite enjoyed their set on the island, but I can’t really remember it. When you go to V-fest with press credentials, you pretty much have an open bar, which means you don’t really remember much of the festival.

First of all, I have to thank my lucky stars my coworker was at the show, I had originally intended to make it to the Mod Club at around 10, anticipating a 10-10:30 start. What do you know, at 8:40, i get a text message:

S: Mgmt on stage, book it over here

which led to this exchange

S: I think openers didn’t show, 3 songs done already
Me: Where u at
S:On the raised area on the right, all the way at the front
Me:Balcony closest to stage.. Did they play kids kids yet

Interesting! As you can tell by this intimate exchange, I was there to hear their super single Kids, so lets talk about that song


As you might have guessed, Kids was the last song of the night. It should be, it’s the meal ticket. Unless you go to the Kate Nash Institute for Performing Live Arts, you generally will know to play one of your biggest songs last, to send the crowd home happy. Kids is a wicked song, it’s catchy, got a good melody and very anthemic. I would say most people going to the show were there to hear this song, Electic Feel and Time To Pretend. I can understand playing old songs when you have new cool stuff to play is boring and somewhat of a chore, but I think a band should never forget that they really are just a product and the concert goers are the consumers and it’s really up to the product to deliver. Especially when you are in an industry like the music industry, where competition is stiff and most bands shelf life is short. It’s probably in your best interest to make the most of what you have, when you have it.

So why the little spiel? MGMT could not have looked more bored playing that song. They didn’t even really play it. The background music was basically played from a recording, with all the members basically taking a break from instrument playing duties to sing along to the song. Drummer James Richardson would very occasionally bang the symbols and Ben Goldwasser would occasionally bang the keyboard a bit, but more or less, it was just a MGMT karaoke over their own song. The crowd still lapped it up though, but I thought they were basically taking a piss on their own song, basically saying ‘we know we have to play this song, but we aren’t REALLY going to play it’. Maybe I was the only one who noticed it, but it definitely bothered me a bit.

The rest of the show was stellar otherwise, I kind of like the new material live, it’s got quite a psychedelic late 60s acid/lsd feel to it and it seems to me like a unsurprising direction change from the band. Oracular Spectacular was basically an ode to classic 70s rock, so it should be of no surprise that Congratulations makes nods towards other types of music from the same era. That being said, the overly chatty young pseudo hipster crowd still reacted more favorably to all the classic songs of the debut album. Like Sarah had said in her review of MGMT at Coachella, they had very little stage presence and was pretty disengaged with a crowd, despite saying a host of ‘thank yous’. I guess you can’t expect too much from a bunch of kids thrusted into the spotlight as MGMT was a few years ago.

All in all, it was a decent show. I got in late, somehow got an awesome spot, and then got home early. While I was there, I heard some good tunes and despite the hiccups that was Kids, I still enjoy the set.

Ps. Next time I’m at Mod Club, I promise to take a pic from a different angle

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

7 Responses to Concert Review: MGMT, April 29, Mod Club

  1. bravestar

    That’s the way they always have played Kids! Its like a tradition with them to play it that way. Its on all the utube videos as a karaoke. So, nothing personal. Glad u enjoyed the show.

  2. Sarah

    Maybe I was watching a different show or interpreted their set in the exact opposite way. I thought MGMT only really came to life when they played Kids. It was the only time I thought they were legitimately having fun with what they were doing. They were sort of boring prior to playing Kids. Perhaps I’m being too harsh with the boring, but I certainly felt there was a disconnect between them and their audience.

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  4. Ricky

    definitely a disconnect, but i also just worked a 12 hr day that day and just wanted to chill and listen to tunes so maybe my expectations were different

  5. rowan

    I’m seeing this band soon… seen them before… they were just ok live. I hate the new album, it’s so dull but loved Oracular. Hope they play at least half of Oracular, I’ll put up with the new crap if they just indulge me on this…. If they don’t start respecting themselves a little more, i’m gonna booooooooooooo!

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