Friday, February 01, 2008

MGMT/Yeasayer at the Echoplex

I was extremely glad I didn't have to wait outside for a ticket at The Echoplex for the MGMT/Yeasayer show. The Echo and The Echoplex both have a poor policy of not letting in people right away if they don't have tickets. The showtime had been changed from 8:30 to 7:30 but the doors opened closer to 8:00 as the crowd soaked up the rain outside. My recommendation is to always buy a ticket for the Echo or Echoplex so you aren't left out in the cold.
Port O'Brien

Port O'Brien hails from Oakland and had the same kindred spirit as their Oakland brethren Rogue Wave with a touch of Band Of Horses. Port O'Brien is spearheaded by Van Pierszalowski (Vocals/Guitar) who gave a performance that reminded me of a early Neil Young with his foot stomping and passionate vocal delivery. "I Woke Up Today" was a catchy number from their latest release "The Wind and The Swell".
It is a shame most of the audience did not see their performance. Port O'Brien also gets points for incorporating a banjo into their music which was adeptly played by Cambria Goodwin. I may have to see them again with the Delta Spirit on March 7th at the Troubadour.


Yeasayer started their set a little after 9:00 and the soaked crowd outside had finally been let into the venue. There was a weird tension already in the room as most of the audience seemed to have the attitude that you better be worth me waiting in rain. I have throughly reviewed my notes and can shed some light on their controversial set. The band opened with "Many Waves" with a looser, disjointed live feel to the song. The singer apologized about having the crowd waiting in the rain and stated the Echo needed to figure that out as he thanked everyone for coming out. "Waiting for the Summer" was next with its middle eastern psychedelic swirls and haunting keyboards sounds. "Final Path" had Chris Keating (Vocals/Keyboards) collapsing and moving erratically all over the stage as Ira Wolf Tuton (Bass) was working on his G&L fretless bass. The appalause grew slightly louder as the early sound problems seemed to have been resolved. Chris then mentioned that the crowd was shoegazing and that the crowd was quiet eliciting some cheers from the crowd. He also mentioned that the west coast was laid back and that he liked that. "2080" was an intoxicated stumbling song yet delivered with conviction. After the song, Chris went back at the audience again with his reference to L.A. being a bunch of dreamcatchers and hippies. The band then went into "No Need To Worry" which ended with Chris throwing the maraca into the crowd with Chris saying "You can keep that, you earned it". I don't think it is safe to throw things in the crowd, so this was a major mistake on his part. Overall, their "musical performance" was above average but they get below average marks for stage demeanor. Ira did try to mend the audience, but unfortunately the damage had already been done.


MGMT immediately eased the tension in the room with a few bars of "Who'll Stop The Rain". MGMT are an intriguing blend parts of the psychedelic, jam, and indie together like a colorful tapestry from the '60s. I was amazed to find out that they were signed to a record deal even though the label had never seen them perform live. Andrew VanWyngarden (Guitars/Vocals) had his Fender stratocaster dialed into the past by using a Pro Co Rat distortion pedal, Ibanez tubescreamer, Dimebag Darell Wah pedal, and a Boss Giga Delay. Ben Goldwasser (Keyboards) had an impressive keyboard setup with a Moog Little Phatty and a Nord keyboard. "Time To Pretend" was even more psychedelic sounding live with huge washes of Wah pedal falling all over the audience. "Weekend Wars" was another kaleidoscope romp with howling guitars and wispy keyboards. "Electric Feel" reminded me of the Bee Gees with its flute like keyboards and high pitched vocals. It was almost like "Saturday Night Fever" for the latest generation. MGMT is finishing up their tour with Yeasayer and will have high expectations on their Coachella appearance.