MGMT + Florence & The Machine @ Birmingham Academy 2 – 12th May 2008


Only one support act this evening. Usually I relish the time spent watching what could be the next big thing, but to be honest tonight, I’m really not that bothered. Wait a minute, I should be bothered because this girl Florence, well she’s pretty awesome.

After seeing Florence and her “Machine” in Scruffy’s beforehand I felt I should cut the pre-drinks short and make the effort to listen to her set. Florence offers her drink to the crowd. I’m guessing it was something like a Mojito, because this lass is no Beth Ditto, she really holds a certain essence of respect for herself and the people around her. She seems genuinely happy to be here in Birmingham, like she’s never experienced such a receptive and willing crowd before. With the stage aid of a bird cage (minus the bird) and a tastefull array of 70’s -esque flower power the band play an impressive set of beautiful tunes, softly sung with apparent ease by Florence. The highlight of the set is quite easily her cover of Cold War Kids, ‘Hospital Beds’. She sings it with so much passion, and you can’t but help drift off away from the dinginess off the academy to another, much more fantastical surrounding.

The timid, but extremely appreciative group leave the stage with lasting admiration for the more than pleased audience, a testament which I’m sure the audience share for their new found talent this evening.

A short improvised session marks the beginning of MGMT’s memorable performance tonight. They swiftly break into a favourite from their debut album, ‘Electric Feel’. The crowd seem unusually precautious tonight, this isn’t because they are ashamed to be at an MGMT gig, more because they genuinely don’t know what to expect. The band seem to have fast tracked their way to success thanks to their flagship tune ‘Time To Pretend’ making it onto teen drama ‘Skins’, so their impressive debut ‘Spectacular Oracular’ is still a new concept to all present.

With an eclectic mix of synths and guitars the two front men get stuck into ‘Weekend Wars’. Full of swirling, high octane vocals and impressive lyrical turns the opening tracks aptly prepare the crowd for more highlights of the album, and maybe a little more.


It seems that MGMT have strong views on preserving the future. The song content and heartfelt lyrics which they sing with such passionate sorrow create a thoughtful ambience throughout the room. We think a lot tonight about climate change and such, and what our ‘Kids’ will be born into, but we don’t get headaches because MGMT manage to put across their views through an array of 60’s -esque songmanship. Peace and Love and all that.

Finally the crowd are moving a little, and what better catalyst than a cover of a Kinks song. The older people here tonight certainly enjoy this rendition of ‘Nobody’s Fool’ and I’m sure the younger generation enjoy this slight change of direction. This cover certainly sheds a lot of light as to the bands influences and to what musically they believe in.
Just as it’s creeping to the back of the crowds brains ‘Time To Pretend’ is blasted out, and I mean blasted. Un-fortunately tonight the sound system can’t seem to cope with the immense sound MGMT are producing and distorts quite severely. This is a shame, but this band will become bigger and better paid, and will be able to get their own sound system on board next time round!


The bandana comes on and the crowd are excited to say the least, as this accessory means only one thing. ‘Kids’. Basically the band just dick around for 3 minutes to a pre-recorded backing track. None of the guys play any instruments they just have a proper good time. And why not, it’s a wicked tune, one which marks the night as a great success.

If gig goers only new MGMT for one song they now know a lot more about this exciting new act. And you can be assured the guys will quickly gather a worldwide group of loyal followers. Main Academy next. What a gig that will be!

Review – Frazer Lawton
Photos – Matt Wilding

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