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Music

Yo... Cut It!: Beck + MGMT @ Theatre St. Denis

Posted by Goran / October 9, 2008

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The fact that I even got into MGMT & Beck at Theatre St. Denis on Monday night is a testament to the efficacy of schmoosing in the music b’niss. The fact that I was in the sixth row may have something to do with the man who put me on the list. It is a fact that this man signed Beck to his first record deal. It may sound funny, and it's yet another relevant fact, that this man is also MGMT’s management. And finally, the fact that I was having a pint with MGMT after the show just made it seem as though Pop had not yet ended.

As a volunteer at the Pop Symposium, one of my jobs was to greet panelists and visitors. Just by chance, I chatted it up with Mark Kates as I was writing his name on a makeshift nametag. As an A&R mogul at Geffen, Mark advised some pretty big acts that you may have heard of: Nirvana, Hole, Sonic Youth, White Zombie, etc. He also presided over Grand Royal Records and founded Fenway Recordings. As we chatted, I mildly revealed my frustration with the difficulty of obtaining Beck tickets. He told me he’d see what he could do. I didn’t believe him. And sure as death and/or taxes, on Monday morning I received a confirmation e-mail.

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I’ve been interested in scoping out MGMT’s live show for some time now. Their McCarren Park Pool gig with the Ting Ting’s in Brooklyn this summer created quite the buzz. But mostly, I wanted to see if they could pull their sound off live. Generally speaking, they did, and with minimal sampling. However, the energy level was rather low. The sold out venue was still half empty during their set, and the rows of theater chairs impeded dancing for those who were diggin’ it. They kept it short, didn’t seem very into it, played the hits, messed about on stage, and finished with Kids. I must say I prefer the recorded version.

On their own, MGMT was obviously not worth the ticket's 70 bone face value. But I'm sure that the rational and well-informed investors that filled the Latin Quarter theater knew Beck was nowhere near sub-prime. By the time he made his debut, the theater was fully packed and quivering with anticipation. Strutting out onto the stage, with a hat bigger than his body (he's really short, and the hat was really big), he was already rocking that raunchy/bouncy guitar lick with which the perdedor won our hearts halfway through the previous decade. Immediately, the fans jumped to their feet, and forgetting about their theater chairs, they remained upright for the duration of the performance.

Beck's touring in support of his 8th studio album ("Modern Guilt" - 12th if you count his indie releases). Please listen to this album if you'd like to hear something good. Although he may have over-focused on the new material, Beck played a solid mix of tunes, satisfying every generation of fans. He's a ridiculous guitarist, dope M.C., amazing singer and a pop synthesist of the highest caliber. He truly has a knack for locating the best of popular music and mashing it up into original material. Although Beck rocked a little hand-held synth set to "show the M.C.'s how it's done", played a MGMT-backed esoteric cover set featuring the Wind Cries Mary, and came back for an encore, he too didn't seem all that into it. He didn't utter a single word to the crowd between tracks; a stark departure from his old school performance habits. Maybe he's reinventing himself...

And then I saw her, yea I saw her, my sun-eyed girl. My heart became a timebomb tickin', timebomb tickin', going "tick tick tick." I think I'm in love but it makes me kinda nervous to say so. I'm simultaneously talking about some of the awesome tracks Beck threw down, and my feelings for his mesmerizing guitarist, Jessica Dobson (a.k.a. Deep Sea Diver). Inspired by passion, while drinking with the MGMT weirdos (at Trois Brasseurs of all places) after the show, I walked up to her with great conviction, looked straight into her bottomless eyes, and said... nothing you idiots! I'm a blogger, not a player.

Photos from flickr user fwonkas

Discussion

15 Comments

Jer / October 9, 2008 at 10:12 am
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Oooh...look at me. My name is goran. I have connections in the music biz. Oh what's that, you need tix to a show or a cd...hold on, lemme call up my pal at Geffen.

I saw MGMT at Osheaga, and like most other reviews I read of the gig, I was sorely disappointed. It's not surprising they left the audience flat again. It made me realize that their album is only really two or three songs deep.

Hopefully while you were having beers with them, you told them they need to step it up if they're gonna be hanging with talented artists like beck.
J / October 9, 2008 at 10:59 am
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that was the snootiest review I've read in a long time. It's about the show, not the writer. I write reviews myself, and have even chilled with musicians(OMG!), and yet it never makes it into the writing. Get over yourself.
MGMT, by the way, are an awesome studio band. Just a little lackluster on stage (it was the same at V-fest).
G / October 9, 2008 at 11:56 am
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Ma Bad... thanks for the input. I'll work on de-snooty-ing myself. I'm still not used to it because it's all so new, and kind of a big deal, to me. I wanted to share that because I take a more personal, rather than sophisticated omniscient, approach. I was quite star struck (especially in the case of my love, Deep Sea Diver) and thus it was hard to avoid mentioning it. I'll try to be less snooty for you next time, as I would love to retain you as a reader/critic. But do note that it's rather difficult for me, given that I wear a monacle, top hat, and a vest under my double breasted sport jacket. Not to mention my neck warmer and exquisite filtered cigarettes.
James / October 9, 2008 at 01:49 pm
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God, I couldn't give a shit that any of you hung out with artists. And what's with the 200-word bitch-out? Midnight Poutiners are so friendly....
S. / October 9, 2008 at 05:59 pm
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how dare you, G.? i am the snootiest writer on this here site.
Jer / October 9, 2008 at 07:48 pm
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It's true. Stefan is pretty snooty. You see the huge words he uses. I need a dictionary every time he posts.

And yeah..I'm with James. Where did the love go? Poutine is about being drunk and mushy.
Mikey / October 10, 2008 at 01:30 pm
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Jessica Dobson.. I met her in a house in Fullerton California.. She was playing the Guitar in the middle of a house party, she made me dizzy and i saw stars around her head.

I had no idea she played with Beck till last Sunday.. She got me sweet tickets.

Check out Deep Sea Diver ( truly special )
http://www.myspace.com/deepseadivermusic

*** Gossip ***
Jessica recently started to day Matt of the Cold War Kids.. He too, a great artist and person..

touch it.
Mikey / October 10, 2008 at 01:31 pm
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Jessica Dobson.. I met her in a house in Fullerton California.. She was playing the Guitar in the middle of a house party, she made me dizzy and i saw stars around her head.

I had no idea she played with Beck till last Sunday.. She got me sweet tickets.

Check out Deep Sea Diver ( truly special )
http://www.myspace.com/deepseadivermusic

*** Gossip ***
Jessica recently started to date Matt of the Cold War Kids.. He too, a great artist and person..

touch it.
Inlyte E cig / September 8, 2014 at 05:10 pm
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At this time I am going to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming yet again to read further
news.
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