Wednesday, March 30, 2011

MGMT, Bkt Kiara Indoor Arena 25/3/2011

MGMT concert? Yes, you read it right - it's a Management concert! I can't imagine my bosses performing though! Ah still confused? The band's name is MGMT, it was meant as a joke when they started it. They're from the US - playing psychedelic rock genre. Read more about them here

Iris, as usual informed us on the gig back in January and we managed to get the early bird ticket at RM 128. Originally the venue is at KL Live (near Concorde KL), but it was changed to Bukit Kiara Indoor Arena, and the venue change was only officially announced about 3 days before the gig. I wonder if there was anyone who didn't know about this and turned up at KL Live instead.

But anyway, it sort of made my life easier as it is near to my house. Only I had to make a mad dash from office at 5 sharp, fetched Iris at Kota Dsara then dash again to the venue. Actually, I had to make another mad dash after the concert to Azni's place as I have another trip early the next morning! Yeah I think I'm quite mad to be doing all this :-p

Luckily traffic was clear. We reached Bukit Kiara Indoor Arena (it is actually located in the Bukit Kiara Equestrian Club) at 7.15pm The indoor arena is actually a venue for horse showjumping competitions. Planks were used to cover the sand flooring. Me and Iris started to queue only at 8pm, although the ticket says doors open at 7pm. There was not a huge crowd yet at 8, so we just sat and waited. Finally we were allowed in at almost 9pm. We were segregated by gender, as there was a body check and they also checked our IDs (it's for 18 and above only). Lucky again I guess, as we were in the fastest lane at the left most side. We wondered why people crowded at the middle lane. Because of that, we managed to be at the front row again as the hall was still empty! We didn't plan to. We wanted to just come at our own sweet time, hang around at the back and enjoy the show.

But unfortunately, we were very near to the amplifier - and the bass was too loud. Even The Star's reporter agreed with me. (Read the review below).

Overall, I guess because the band is still very young (only 2 albums so far), they hardly moved around the stage and only stuck to their positions, although you can't blame Ben though, cos he plays the keyboard, and that cannot involve much movement! Andrew can be blamed though hehe.. Andrew did communicate with the crowd, quite a few times in fact. And he sounded friendly, he seemed to be very happy performing. Another downside is Andrew's singing voice - he doesn't have the best of vocals, I guess he can improve on that. (But then, what do I know yeah, I'm not a vocal coach :-p)

Last complaint is that the concert started late - there was a local opening act - Kyoto Protocol, and they only appeared at about 9.30pm MGMT only started at 10.30pm, and we only finished at midnight! But then from a girl I met who won a meet & greet pass with the band, I was told that the session was at 8pm at another venue nearby, so maybe that was one of the reasons their appearance was delayed

Anyway, here is their setlist:
1. Flash Delirium
2. Weekend Wars
3. I Found a Whistle
4. Electric Feel
5. It's Working
6. Of Moons, Birds & Monsters
7. Only a Shadow (Cleaners from Venus cover)
8. Time to Pretend
9. Song for Don Treacy
10. The Youth
11. Siberian Breaks (My fave - all 12 mins of it)
12. Kids
13. Congratulations
14. The Handshake
15. Pieces of What
16. Brian Eno

Anyway, back to the review excerpted from Startwo, 29/3/2011 Note: Somehow my pictures turned out very bad this time around, so not much pix to be shared here unfortunately.

It was all about flashes of delirium at MGMT’s concert in Kuala Lumpur last Friday.

NEARLY three years after exploding onto the music scene, New York-based psychedelic rock act MGMT was finally making its way to Malaysian shores. Now sporting a sophomore album, three new band members, and a few years more of touring experience, the group’s live debut in Kuala Lumpur promised to be an insane night of psychedelic thrills.A 3,000-strong crowd filled the Bukit Kiara Equestrian indoor arena last Friday night, making a strong statement that indie fans are a sizeable demographic in this otherwise oldies and Top 40-centric concert town The venue’s traffic and parking woes were also alleviated by the organiser, Future Sound Asia, arranging a shuttle bus service for concert-goers. It was an odd mix of glittered-up hipsters, underground rockers and casual T-shirt-and-jeans attendees just looking for a good party. Of course, the seasoned party crowd were spotted outside the venue gates as they tanked up before the show.

The group already had a taste of this region, performing with Whitest Boy Alive the night before down in Singapore.

Despite a late start to the KL show, anticipation remained high. The crowd was roaring for MGMT as local alternative rockers Kyoto Protocol made their way on stage.

Catching on the audience’s impatience, Kyoto lead vocalist Fuad Alhabshi half joked: “I can’t wait for them to come on, so let’s make this quick!”

Kyoto warmed up the audience, cramming seven songs into a 30-minute set.

Next up, MGMT came in like proper rock stars, sauntering in backed by a cheesy pre-recorded introduction that sounded like something from an old boxing match, “They’re not from Montego Bay, they’re from the Eastern shores and they’re absolutely crazy. Ladies and gents, this is M.G.M.T!” The 10.30pm kick-off was perfectly timed with the venue’s Twitter brigade itching to announce the rock action.

The band started with Flash Delirium, whipping the crowd into a frenzy by the second song Weekend Wars.

Weekend was reinterpreted in the band’s new sound, with more forward electric guitar and drums instead of synthesised sounds making it more rock than psychedelia.

The new approach worked just as well on older songs Moons, Birds & Monsters and Time To Pretend. Unfortunately, one of this writer’s favourites, Electric Feel was butchered by frontman Andrew VanWyngarden’s weak vocals, as he chose to go solo rather than harmonising with Ben Goldwasser like on the Oracular Spectacular record.

The venue’s sound system did the band no favours either, over-emphasising the bass in favour of vocals and acoustics instruments. VanWyngarden’s guitar was only noticeable during Siberian Breaks and encore song, Pieces Of What.

Making the best of their situation, the boys still managed the pull off a few gems, the highlights being the slower Siberian Breaks which gave fans a chance to catch their breath just before the band went all out with Kids.

On Kids, the band lived up to its name as a party band, VanWyngarden and Goldwasser dropping their instruments and howling shoulder to shoulder in the spotlight, reminiscent of when the two were the entirety of MGMT. All this was made possible thanks to new bandmember James Richardson who manned the keyboard while the founding duo showboated. Richardson definitely deserves MVP of the night for his lively performance on guitar, keyboard, backup vocals and even a bongo drum for It’s Working.

One wonders how many real “fans” were at the gig, with most leaving after the band played their most well known hit, Kids. The hardcore fans stayed on, stomping their feet and chanting the classic Malaysian concert goer cry: “We want more!”

Boy, did MGMT deliver, performing three more songs for the encore, pushing the count to 16 tracks on the night (just three songs shy of their entire discography)!

The frantic Brian Eno was the perfect closer with just the right amount of crazy, thanks to Goldwasser hammering his keyboard, unleasing a rainbow of bizarre samples from cartoon laser beams sounds to cuckoo clocks and birds chirping.



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