Sasquatch! Music Festival, Day 2: MGMT

Sasquatch, Live Reviews
Matthew Howland
all photos by Matthew B. Thompson

Before a closing performance from Twenty One Pilots, MGMT played a packed set at Sasquatch Music Festival's Main Stage, playing tracks from each of their past records, including several to be featured on the forthcoming Little Dark Age. As evidenced by past live performances, MGMT are unafraid of spectacle. The band's Sasquatch set featured four large video monitors set behind the group showing video footage most easily described as "weird." This was matched by the band's weirdo-pop sound, which has veered more and more experimental with each successive MGMT release. Though the set drew heavily upon 2007's Oracular Spectacular, which features their most well-known tracks ("Kids," "Electric Feel," "Time to Pretend," all played during opportune moments in the set), their new material showcased a knack for mixing power pop tropes with more avant-garde tendencies.

One has to wonder, however, whether MGMT's music has enough substance to justify the spectacle. In the case of The Flaming Lips, for instance, the band's spectacle is underlined by explorations of loss, addiction, and humanity, which knowingly complicates their over the top tendencies to good effect. It is clear that the music of MGMT has touched enough people to earn them a near-headlining spot at countless international festivals, including Sasquatch. However, after watching MGMT perform their debut ode to hedonism "Time to Pretend" in front of thousands of bobbing collegiates, this writer was left questioning if MGMT has sonically developed as a band, or instead uses their spectacle as camouflage. Much of the audience likely disagreed, but it remains worth questioning as the release date for the fourth MGMT album fast approaches.

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