Gig review: MGMT at O2 Academy Leeds

Tonight's Leeds O2 Academy is full to bursting, a decent feat for New England based cerebral indietronica duo MGMT, considering we're well into the Christmas run-up.


It seems eons ago that frontman Andrew Van Wyngarden and keyboardist Ben Goldwasser were helping French techno duo Justice trouser a Grammy award for sprinkling their infectious Gallic grooves over ‘Electric Feel’, as well as second album ‘Congratulations’ debuting in the top 5 on both sides of the Atlantic; but then, pop can be a fickle beast.

By all accounts those heady days proved somewhat overwhelming, placing something of a strain between Van Wyngarden and Goldwasser, perhaps leading to the near half decade gap between eponymous album three and latest release ‘Little Dark Age’. Fortunately, as far as their fans are concerned, absence makes the heart grow fonder, and following a 30-month gap between shows, this year the band reappeared at festivals and theatres across Europe, North America, Australia and South America, now completing the remainder of the UK following a couple of London dates back in February.

Tonight seems no different, everyone chanting back the synth melody at the start of favourite ‘Time to Pretend’, a giant animated neon reindeer leaping about on the video screen backdrop, the stage also adorned with assorted foliage. Augmented by James Richardson (guitar/keys), Simon Connor (Bass) and Will Berman (drums), it seems MGMT are making up for lost time, reconnecting with their audience, even enlisting one of them to play classical guitar on the introduction to latest album track ‘TSLAMP’. There’s also the small matter of an inflatable duck pinging around everyone’s heads throughout the show, adding to the all-round bonhomie.

Tonight’s material features just the right amount from ‘Little Dark Age’ including ‘James’, ‘When You Die’ and ‘Me and Michael’ although predictably, it’s ‘Electric Feel’ and ‘Kids’ that really get everyone bouncing, a banging extended version of the latter closing the main set.

Tonight’s encore is also a pretty chunky affair, containing ‘When You’re Small’, ‘Hand It Over’, Alien Days’ and ‘Of Moons Birds and Monsters’. Indeed, it’s as if the band doesn’t want to leave us and that suits those in attendance just fine, everyone determined to make their weekend last that little bit longer.