I was excited to attend the psychedelic-synth-rock band MGMT (Management) at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair, NJ, last Thursday, June 20th.
MGMT – Photo credit: Richard Burbridge for GQ magazine.
The Wellmont theater attracts great acts and is convenient since I don’t have to schlep into NYC. I avoid the tolls, expensive parking and dealing with West Side Highway traffic. Also, this theater is wheelchair accessible and the staff is attentive and accommodating. Built in 1922 as a movie and live entertainment theater, the building was updated and refurbished in 2008 retaining all the decorative architectural detail from the 20’s. In my opinion, historic buildings with their period detail and grandeur must be preserved and protected for future generations.
Before catching a show, I like to eat at Cuban Pete’s, an authentic Cuban outdoor/indoor BYOB restaurant a few steps from the theater. Make sure to snag a table in the courtyard where palm trees, rustic furnishings, bright colored teal walls and waiters wearing Panama hats transport you to Havana. They randomly break out the bongos and drum like mad to a Cuban beat. The food is delicious with a diverse menu that appeals to kids and vegetarians alike. I usually opt for suckling pig, fried plantains in a caramelized sugar and fried black beans and rice. This place is always packed, so it is best to arrive by 6 pm to avoid the wait. Don’t forget to bring your bib and handi-wipes as the meal can get a little messy.
After suckling my piggy, I managed to roll into the theater, no easy feat. I love people-watching and am inspired by what people are wearing. I was looking forward to some fashion edge in Montclair, NJ’s answer to Brooklyn, but was woefully disappointed.
I entered the theater and was taken aback by the dozens of tween girls wearing nondescript distressed, cut-off denim shorts, mundane canvas sneakers and banal cotton tees. When did Daisy Duke cut-off shorts rear their ugly head? The look is over and out, PASSÉ since the 2005 movie remake of the 1979 show,”The Dukes of Hazzard“. How in the heck did this become a tweeny trend? My guess is that they subscribe to a Facebook group called: “Jersey-Tweens-Banal-Denim-Fashion-Flash-Mob” which instructed them to wear a “Daisy Dukes” MGMT groupie uniform.
Next, I perused the lobby waiting and hoping for a few fashion pioneers to enter. Thankfully some did arrive, not tweens, but in their 20’s and 30’s. Fashion is still A-L-I-V-V-E!
Showtime. The first time I heard MGMT I was immediately attracted to their happy electro-pop psychedelic beat. If Woodstock were to happen today, I could envision teens sitting in muddy puddles, tie-dye tees, happily swaying with their cracked, clogged bongs and videotaping MGMT with their iPhone 5s.
This was the first time I saw MGMT live and was excited to hear some of my favorite songs like “Weekend Wars,” “The Youth,” “Electric Feel,” and “Kids.” However, the sound was louder than all the emergency sirens of every nuclear plant on the earth going off simultaneously. I have been to many shows at the Wellmont, but I think the Sound Guy left the joint to go to Cuban Pete’s for some mojitos.
The band did little to interact with the audience other than uttering “Hello New Jersey.” Some bands have an amazing stage presence and are energetic performers. MGMT is a band that was meant to listen to at a rave or maybe from a sound system anywhere but a concert hall–not live. The lead members Benjamin Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden are very easy on the eyes. During the performance, a huge screen flashing psychedelic, rainbow hued, animated imagery, juxtaposed with animals, elements from nature and humans, hypnotized and captivated me. The visuals were so mesmerizing that they overpowered the music. So I sat staring and inhaling the wafts of illegal substance billowing around me while trying to figure out how Photoshop could have been used to create this visual extravaganza.
Overall, I found this show underwhelming. The biggest disappointment was not performing their Grammy Award nominated hit, “Kids“, which I love so much. Judging that most of the audience was 16 years old, could playing a song entitled “Kids” encourage toddlers to stroll in unattended rocking out in diapers and denim? Maybe down the road they could name a song “Adults,” so that some of their legal age groupies could have some fun after a show.
Despite all this, I am still a fan of MGMT and will continue to download their music. You just won’t find me at a future show, unless I read in Vogue magazine some day that “the fashion world’s luminaries descend upon Radio City Music Hall to gain inspiration from MGMT’s fans for future cutting-edge designs.” Highly doubtful.
What would Daisy Duke want me to wear to an MGMT show? Satin veil fascinator from Batcakes Couture from Etsy, Kate Spade clip on earrings, Halston Heritage dress from Saks, Astoria slingback shoes from Shoescribe.com.
Hair styled by Peggy Marzell of BlondeHairExpert.com.
IFB’s Summer Essentials Weekly roundup.
Time to toss those Daisy Dukes and buy a fashionable collection of shorts like these.