Oh Andrew Vanwyngarden… where have you been all my life?
By Hannah Golightly
Not since the late Kurt Cobain have I had such a huge crush on a rock star, but then again neither Kurt Cobain or Andrew Vanwyngarden are what anyone could call typical of rock stars, right?
I met him on a dark night in Manchester with the sky glowing a shade of pinky orange light pollution. It set the mood well because if you’re gonna meet MGMT and it’s gonna be romantic then nothing short of a psychedelic sky is going to do. To my knowledge neither of us had imbibed any psychedelics, though he did look a little bit stoned. With him it would only be natural.
Me and my boyfriend had travelled up from Liverpool for the night because at the time MGMT was the only band I knew worth getting on a train for. Hell, they ended up being deemed worth getting on a tourbus to Paris for, if only we’d had our passports with us at the time. They were playing the University hall and the place was buzzing and heaving with all of the northwest’s best-tasted music fans. We managed to push our way through the throngs of bandana-wearing imitators and their pretty girlfriends down to near the front. The bright lights from the stage lit up as cheers raised the roof and the band entered. We had missed the support bands and we couldn’t have cared less. It seemed our timing was perfect and the place was full of Electric Feel. The vibe, not the song… they saved the song til near the end of their set.
We sang along and danced. Tripped-out colours lit the air. Flavoured with all the best sounds of the hour. MGMT, a two-piece band, had multiplied and their touring members seemed to be part of their tribe. It sounded immense. It had been a while since I’d seen or heard anything so inspiring. We crouched down in the crowd to smoke because the smoking ban was in full effect and going outside for one was near-impossible, not only because the place was so packed out, but also because who would want to miss a moment of the best show in years?
We caught up with most of the band in Big Hands, a tiny little bar a few doors down from the venue. Me and my then boyfriend bought them pints and they all chose Guinness. We chatted and tried to impress them in that stupid way that people do when they get excited and meet famous musicians. Outside this little bar I met Syd Barrett’s nephew while sharing a cigarette. He was impressed by MGMT just like everyone else. MGMT are not serious, but they are seriously good and seriously entertaining, not to mention seriously cute.
Only one thing was missing, and that was the stars of the night. I convinced my man to go with me to look for them at their tour bus. We had to wait around like usual, getting past security and calling their bluff when lied to about them being at Big Hands where we’d just come from. We got friendly with the tour manager and waited. Call it a sixth sense or obvious logical reasoning… but I knew we’d find Andrew Vanwyngarden on that tour bus. First to arrive was Benjamin Goldwasser, the other cute young frontman of the band. He was friendly yet a little reserved and we spoke for a few minutes. I told him where the rest of the band were and he went off to join them. I was just fielding more BS from the tour manager about Andrew’s whereabouts while standing by the open middle door of the bus when he spotted me, eyes sparkling and smilingly stepped down off the bus to see who it was. I don’t say such things often but there was an instant spark between us. My boyfriend took it well. We spoke and chatted and tried to keep the flirting in check (badly) and he invited us both to Paris with him. I got him to sign my ticket and he gave my man his email address. We gave each other a lingering cuddle and kiss on the cheek… and my boyfriend shook his hand as his tour manager came to get him and we walked off across the deserted car park in the direction of our hotel full of excitement and longing.
I hadn’t given this much thought until I had a conversation with my friend Nisha the other night. Apparently, I had failed to tell her this story… perhaps I stashed it to the back of my mind in the romantic category of impossible love scenarios.
Anyway, MGMT are still an amazingly talented band who make music that sounds retro and brand new fresh in equal doses. But I missed this track of theirs called ‘Indie Rokkers’. So I thought that it might have passed you by too. It was on the ‘Time To Pretend’ EP. I missed that and went straight for the album Oracular Spectacular instead. Here it is in case you missed it. Listen to this, to good to miss rah rah rah rah rah rah.