Catalogs of neat shoes attended MGMT’s show at the Henry Fonda. Suede, leather, sequins, boots, booties, flats and sandals paraded at toe level. Pleasant coincidence? Or cosmic poetics? At their most meta, shoes and music generate catharctic joy. Complexity crafted into a texture you can wear on your feet and move around in. So meta. In the meta appreciation of shoes, I appreciate the shoes and I appreciate that I appreciate the shoes. When music is meta, it’s all about the music, as if it’s a shoe…
This show conjured a late night ping pong match between Zeppelin, Zappa and a dolphin wearing an ELO shirt…in a ghost town on an tropical island. 14 minute long “Metanoia” may represent this meta-characteristic best. “Metanoia” is an epic journey through the drying inkwell of classic rock, picking at musical motifs like shoe displays. “Control Yourself” may live on another planet from “Metanoia,” but Andrew VanWyngarden and Ben Goldwasser struck a spastic karaoke vibe harmonizing about trees, splashing around a cosmic edge until it tipped over, causing an electric short circuit. Literally the guitarist got shocked by his guitar. It jumped right out of his hands, smoking. Even the MGMT songs you actually hear shoe-shopping at the mall, like “Weekend Wars,” stretched their poppy chops with psychedelic fabric. Like amazing shoes, MGMT is way experimental.
I was offended when an old guy at the Etta James show told me to shut up, but I was not talking half as much as the couple in front of me at MGMT. So, I guess we are listening to the show peeking over their shoulders. The lesson: It sucks when people talk too much, but a little bit is ok.