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A moving mass of sweat and flailing arms—that’s how I would describe the crowd at the MGMT concert, this past Saturday at the Sound Academy. One of the most intense, energetic and at times, obnoxious, audiences I had ever been apart of, there were multiple times throughout the night where fans had to be carried out over the metal barriers due to exhaustion, and on more than one occasion, I definitely thought I’d be one of them.

By the time I had arrived in line at 7 p.m., there was already a long line of eager fans waiting in the blistering cold for doors to open at 8 p.m. Once everyone was finally ushered inside, like clockwork, people rushed to the stage to snag front-row views, and it wasn’t long before the opening band, Kuroma, came on stage and started playing beats that could only be described as groovy. Admittedly, I had never previously heard of the band, but the instrumentals had my instantly hooked, and apart from the lead vocals, which got whiny at times (especially in “Heavenly Justice”), I was eager to give them a decent listen upon my return home.

Between the short while that Kuroma finished their set and MGMT was setting up for theirs, the crowd became increasingly aggressive. I was stationed contently; a few rows back from the stage. Not even seconds after lead singer, Andrew VanWyngarden, walked on stage, did the shoving begin. As swarms of people from the back tried to claw their way to the front, most of us were getting drowned and engulfed by the waves of elbows and thrusting shoulders while we all tried to collectively dance to “Time to Pretend.” I had never experienced such a rampant crowd, and although it was exhilarating in the long run, I couldn’t help but find it difficult to breathe at many points during the show, with elbows constantly knocking into my neck, and the inability to control where I was getting swept off to.

Aside from the constant struggle of just trying to stay afloat the crowd of people, there is definitely no denying that the vocal capabilities of MGMT live up strongly to their studio productions, and not once did I experience a “Is this really supposed to sound like that?” moment— a feat in itself for live performers nowadays. Of course, as with MGMT theme, the backdrop was an array of kaleidoscope images and intense colours, which was well reflected by the tie-dyed clothing pieces in the audience.

The band played numerous of their classics such as “Electric Feel,” as well as popular tunes off their latest record, including “Alien Days,” “Cool Song No. 2” and “Your Life is a Lie,” which allowed two audience members to go on stage and help play the cowbell. MGMT ended it off with the renowned “Kids” before coming back with “Congratulations” and “Indie Rokkers” (my personal favourite) for the encore. As pleased as I was with the live performance, my rather small stature wasn’t used to the unexpected, and I hope unintentional physical abuse from strangers, and I was more than ready for the crowd around me to disperse and allow for some breaths of air.

Looking back, I would have definitely prepared for the show better by hydrating myself more and making sure my energy levels were up for something as crazy as what I explained, but overall, I enjoyed the show immensely. The musicality of the performance was way above my expectations, as live electronica-type shows often tend to drown out vocals and the clarity of the instruments. Although I had thought the stage performance would have included more audience involvement with perhaps funky dressed up characters, or even glitter bombs, the people in the crowd definitely made up for it with multiple attempts at crowd surfing and topless antics.

If you’re planning on attending a show, my only advice would be to wear comfortable shoes because trust me, it won’t be fun being tossed around in heels, as well as light clothing and the knowledge that there will be at least a few times throughout the fist pumping that you may feel the need to pass out. Personally, I opted for a fanny pack to keep all my valuables in, and layers of clothing that I could easily tie around my waist. As for getting the most out of the show, just enjoy the awesome music that you’re guaranteed to hear, and be prepared to inhale second-hand drug fumes…lots of it.

 

By: Julia Ho