This was the first time MGMT played Las Vegas, and the psych-pop duo treated it as such. “Tonight we are showbiz men, here for your entertainment,” frontman Andrew VanWyngarden told the crowd early on. Aided by Ben Goldwasser on keyboards and four other musicians, MGMT played 16 songs over 95 minutes, pulling the best tracks from their first two albums, as well as four songs from their upcoming self-titled release. The new songs—such as the playful, cowbell-thumping “Your Life Is a Lie,” the trippy “Alien Days” and the dark drone of “Mystery Disease”—were more in line with their acclaimed 2007 debut Oracular Spectacular than follow-upCongratulations, which was less poppy than its predecessor.
Playing the Cosmo pool one night after the band’s appearance at Los Angeles’ FYF Fest, MGMT explored the full breadth of their sound, from the slow, spacy “I Found a Whistle” to the funky groove of “Electric Feel” to the meandering 12-minute “Siberian Breaks.” A video backdrop behind the band provided colorful images both frantic and soothing, texturing songs such as the galloping “Of Moons, Birds and Monsters” and the harpsichord-fueled “Weekend Wars.” Hits such as “Time to Pretend” and “Kids” were greeted with a sea of camera phones, held aloft as the songs’ swirling, hypnotic melodies penetrated the crowd. While MGMT has often been criticized for being disengaged during their live performances, on this night they were indeed showbiz men. ★★★★☆