Last week, I went to the MGMT concert at Lupo’s. The delay in relaying my concert knowledge is of course due to my several nights of deep contemplation about the concert. It really has nothing to do with the fact that we’re in reading period/finals week. At all. But seriously, these lessons are going to be deep, so pay attention.
MGMT is a band worth contemplating—I am willing to go on the record stating that if I were going to Penny Lane any living, actually-of-our-era band, it would be them. I am shamelessly in love with Andrew VanWynGarden. I think everyone our age should have spent a little time watching interviews with him. I remember going to my first MGMT concert when I was 16 and thinking it was totally plausible that Andrew might pull me up on stage and kiss me. At 19, I recognize the delusion of that thought—of course he wouldn’t have made out with a 16-year-old. Going into Wednesday night, I felt like it was much more likely this time around!
Obviously, my first lesson is that:
1) Third time is (will be) the charm. Meaning next time, Andrew and I will end up together. It was a bit ambitious to assume such a momentous occasion in my life would happen at Lupo’s. Lupo’s is sort of tacky.
2) You can still live life like you’re seeing it through the 1977 Instagram filter. Everyone should spend some time exploring the official MGMT website. It starts on a page called ‘Where is MGMT?’ which features a trippy color-penciled map of America and a rainbow tye-dye bus telling you where the band is right now. It’s designed with you—the groupie from the ’70s—in mind. The most important section for the website creator who must have been on an acid trip during the website’s creative stages is “Fan Art,” in which
massive stoners die-hard fans have shown what MGMT means to them through colorful masterpieces that they’ve uploaded onto the site. If you don’t speak English, fear not! Select your country from the top left corner. You have three options: USA, Deutschland, and Taiwan. Because those are the only other countries in the world where any other MGMT fans live. Right.
In a similar vein, an MGMT concert wouldn’t be an MGMT concert without colourful swirls twisting on a projector-screen in the background, or checkerboard patterns, or paint splash animations, or any sort of image that would make you exclaim, “Woah! Psychedelic, man,” before you remember you are not an extra in Dazed and Confused.
Also, at the end of the concert, Andrew has a roadie come out and hand him a floral crown. Then you promptly feel like an idiot for not wearing a headscarf wrapped around your head, because dammit this is Woodstock!…uh, I mean Lupo’s!
3) Everyone is wrong about the whole second-album-was-shitty issue. I know, I know, Congratulations didn’t live up to Oracular, Spectacular, and everyone was super mad at Pitchfork or whatever, blah blah. Honestly, “Congratulations” was one of their best songs live—not because they didn’t do an amazing job on all their Oracular hits, but because it genuinely is a really great song. “Someone’s Missing” and “It’s Working” are also highly underrated. Maybe everyone should try listening to the album while watching colors move around on a screen. It really makes you appreciate the vibe, man.
4) To earn your ‘Alternative’ labeling, you must abstain from playing both of your biggest songs. I’m not going to criticize them for this, because again, I love him, but there was some uproar when they didn’t play “Kids.” They killed it on “Time to Pretend” so I think we have that to be thankful for, right? Going into the encore, people were hopeful that “Kids” was going to be this epic dramatic finish that we’d all been waiting for. In true worried-about-getting-too-mainstream fashion, they came back and did “Congratulations” and some random song no one remembers. How else are you supposed to be ‘alt’? Rely on your fucking iTunes store genre categorization? No, thank you.
5) Love conquers all, including scary concert moshing. Remember, it was MGMT who taught us “Love Always Remains.” With these words in mind, I managed to get to the FRONT of the scary Lupo’s mosh-pit GA floor. You just have to want it enough, and be okay with other people’s sweat getting in/soaking your hair. Also, sometimes you have to abandon the group and just move forward. They will find you eventually. Or not. It’s about the music. And Andrew!
Gotta go make some Fan Kunst. That’s the Deutschland translation of ‘Fan Art’ in MGMT world.
Image via Philip Heller ’16.