MGMT @ SWG3, Glasgow, 15 Dec

Having returned on fine form with their 2018 release Little Dark Age, MGMT bring their best bits to Glasgow at a sold-out psychedelic party

Live Review by Dylan Tuck | 17 Dec 2018
  • MGMT

If 2018 taught us anything, it’s that MGMT have left their own 'little dark age' and are back at their best. Their fourth record by the same name was a matured take on infectious synth-pop, returning to the high-flying psychedelic sounds many grew to love over a decade ago on their breakout Oracular Spectacular. To celebrate, the duo prepared to give us an early Christmas present in the form of a sold-out Glasgow show.

Matthew Dear is as charismatic and charming a support act as you could possibly want. His solo performance takes many shapes, switching between throbbing techno beats, washy pedal-board effects and suave vocal hooks. His side stage set-up of technical treats makes for somewhat of a DJ-sounding set, twinned with a singer-songwriter, but such is Dear’s allure – you can’t pin him down easily.

SWG3’s TV Studio is a fine venue for a big occasion, and is now chock-a-block with folks ready to get their dancing shoes on to some electro-funk bliss. As the duo of Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser, otherwise known as MGMT, step out alongside their travelling band, the roar of the crowd could likely be heard for miles down the Clyde. Shooting straight in with a hit of nostalgic magic in the form of The Youth, the sea of voices reverberating 'The youth is starting to change' gives the Connecticut duo a little taste of just how excited this rabble is to welcome them to Glasgow. The visuals match the vibrancy of the noise too, as spiralling, trippy patterns brightly shine from the backdropping screen.

While there’s little time for the band to delve into their 2013 self-titled record or 2010's Congratulations (save for a couple of tracks), they instead gloss across some of the best of Oracular Spectacular and Little Dark Age, with tracks like Time to Pretend, TSLAMP, and the ever-funky Electric Feel forcing the entire audience to get their groove on. That being said, the ultimate highlight of the night comes when the bubblegum lead of Kids bursts through the speakers; it's the band's money-shot moment, and the track that most here have been patiently waiting for. Lungs are at full expansion as the chorus is belted back at the stage, while even they are having their party-fun playing this one, abandoning the studio version of the bridge to wander into a daring trance breakdown that keeps the crowd bopping.

A rather subdued, soft encore of Little Dark Age's final two tracks – When You’re Small, performed with the duo and their live band sat in one corner of the stage, and Hand It Over – draw the night to a gentle conclusion. The rest of the set more than makes up for the simmered-down finale, providing a bristling night of electro-pop goodness – the perfect break from repeated Christmas songs, if only for a couple of hours.