My brother and sister have a stupid recurring argument that goes something like this: Sam says that the Brooklyn music scene is dominated by Wesleyanites; Meghan doesn’t take that shit sitting down. “Hogwash!” “Nonsense!” “Etcetera!” Sam, my brother, is a senior at Wesleyan University (birthplace of MGMT), while Meghan, my sister, graduated from Oberlin College. Needless to say, they’re both very proud of how artsy and cutting-edge their respective alma maters are. I typically stay out of it.
Tuesday night’s performance by the indie behemoth MGMT has made me seriously reconsider my neutrality. In case you missed it — SPOILER ALERT — it was incredible. MGMT played songs, then they played more songs that sounded strikingly similar to the songs they had just played, then they mumbled something, played “Kids” and left. For me, it was a night of firsts. Never before had I seen so many bored, disappointed drunk people in one space. Never before had I seen performers with so much barefaced contempt for their audience. The rockers could thank their lucky stars that the majority of the audience had spent the preceding six hours on a bacchanalian bender because if everyone hadn’t been so exhausted, there may have been a riot. Fine, maybe not. But more people probably would have left early instead of spending the show staring at the stage in a zombified trance.
The highlights of the band’s visit were pretty much what we all expected they would be, aside from the plethora of wholly unexpected last-ditch hookup attempts I witnessed on the mud patch formerly known as Old Campus. MGMT interspersed its hour-long nap with a few fan favorites: “Electric Feel,” “Time to Pretend” and, of course, “Kids,” each of which was presented with the apathetic aplomb of a few guys who knew that, barring walking onstage and playing static for an hour, they were going to get paid. (Between you and me, I think “Kids” may have been prerecorded.)
I don’t know why MGMT hates us. Maybe they felt cheated by all of the attention the Ying Yang Twins were getting. Maybe they were offended by our faux-Gothic architecture. Maybe they simply thought they were too cool for school. Whatever the reason, they could have at least taken the time to pretend that they gave a fuck.
Looking at the thousand-plus angry people standing around me Tuesday night, I couldn’t help but feel as though MGMT thought it was pretty funny, getting all of us out there only to spend the majority of their set droning on their guitars and speaking softly into their microphones. Yeah, MGMT, I guess you got us pretty good, but I take a certain comfort in knowing that in a few days we’ll recover, and you’ll still just be a bunch of assholes.