The indie pop band MGMT made a long-awaited appearance in Philly at the Electric Factory on March 20th, on tour for their new album Little Dark Age. The first thing I noticed as I walked in was the eclectic crowd that the band inspired to come out on a Tuesday night. From teenage girls sporting Adidas superstars to artsier aged men rocking hat pins and long hair, everyone was there because they loved the music. This is a testament to the genre mixing MGMT has done and is still expertly doing. They artfully arrange elements of psychedelic synth and trippy visuals to create a cohesive aesthetic that disguises itself as another pop top twenty performance, but is really keeping the spirit of freedom from the 1960s alive and breathing.
The opener was Matthew Dear, a one-man DJ, who commanded many mix boards and a strange combination of instruments. He combined these with his echoey, eerie voice that filled the cavernous warehouse and reverberated off the wall of an audience starting to stack up waiting for the main show. He built excitement for MGMT, while playing a significant set that I can only describe as a tropical psychedelic vibe, placing the audience into an intensely colorful white sand beach in Southern California.
MGMT came on around nine and the audience cheered, ready to really get the party started. In the crowd, there were debates before the show what song they’d open with, “She Works Out Too Much” (the first song on their new album) or a classic like “Electric Feel.” While both songs were played later in the show, they opened with the title track to their newest album, “Little Dark Age.” The concert continued to build and kept everyone dancing and singing throughout the night as the band played their two-hour set. The atmosphere was transformed from a North Philly warehouse to a kaleidoscope of moving people, with the help of stage props like Greek columns and house plants, a dramatic screen with visuals like flowers and eyes squiggling through the background, and a disco ball that dropped right above my head.
The audience left buzzing, everyone seeming to have heard their favorite song played at some point in the night, and all having a renewed appreciation for the band’s talent. I can easily mark that as one of my favorite Tuesdays in college so far, and I can’t wait for MGMT to come back to Philly.