Thousands of fans were turned away from a free MGMT show at the McCarren Park Pool in Brooklyn late July after queuing for several hours to gain entry. Luckily, I was not one of them.
Britain’s alt-pop rockers The Ting Tings kicked off the JellyNYC event with a short but sweet set. Despite a thunderstorm, Katie White’s explosive stage presence warmly invited the weather-beaten crowd to dance around and enjoy themselves.
The Ting Tings saved the best for last as they closed their set with the help and entertainment of a Brooklyn double-dutch team to “Shut Up and Let Me Go.”
Black Moth Super Rainbow took the stage with an ambiguous presence. Each band member has a funky stage name and an article of clothing to conceal his or her identity. The purpose of this enigma is so the focus is more on the music, rather than who or what is in the band.
Although Black Moth Super Rainbow was the most unknown from the lineup, they had the biggest response from the audience. A possible explanation to that response is the fact that a vocoder, Rhodes piano and a Novatron fronted three out of five members on stage.
By the time MGMT took the stage, the pool was at capacity and the weather had cleared. As Andrew VanWyngarden, Ben Goldwasser and company graced Brooklyn with their presence, they launched their set with “Of Moons, Birds & Monsters.”
MGMT played an electrifying set for its hometown crowd, including “Time to Pretend,” “Electric Feel,” “Pieces of What” and “The Youth.” During the more upbeat songs, the crowd danced and sang along.
When MGMT came back out for an encore, Goldwasser announced, “This is a great venue. It’s the last summer of shows here, right? It’s sad. In honor of that, we’re going to play you a 14-minute song.” This time, VanWyngarden topped off his outfit with a large tie-dyed poncho.
After “Metanoia,” VanWyngarden, Goldwasser and their lead guitarist all joined each other behind the keyboards for a collaborative projection of final track “Kids.” The crowd’s response was over the top. The massive amounts of dancing in the abandoned pool venue gave the illusion of choppy waves. Toward the end of the song, while teasing the keyboards, VanWyngarden entertained the crowd by burying himself under his poncho. When he resurfaced, the audience went into an uproar. The members of MGMT modestly waved as they exited the stage.
Without a doubt, rain or shine, this show was the East coast’s pool party of the summer.