With the stress of finals right around the corner, Activities Commission’s spring concert couldn’t come soon enough. The alternative rock band MGMT headlined the show with Kuroma and the DJ duo The White Panda serving as openers. According to AC concerts coordinator junior Jenny Keller, Geneseo students purchased over 1,300 tickets out of the 2,140 total sold.
The doors opened at 7 p.m. and the pre-opener, Kuroma began its set at 8 p.m. According to Keller, Kuroma was a logical group to book because the members normally open for MGMT.
“Kuroma is touring with MGMT,” she said. “They’re signed under the same agency, two of the members of MGMT are in Kuroma, so it just made sense to have them as the pre-opener.”
Guitarist James Richardson and drummer Will Berman of MGMT are members of Kuroma and accompanied the group during its opening act.
A slow-revolving letter “K” covered with the American flag was projected on the back of the stage while Kuroma played. This all-American image essentially personifies the group’s set.
Simply put, the band wasn’t distinctive or memorable. Lead singer Hank Sullivant, who previously played guitar for MGMT, had a clear and engaging voice, the instruments sounded crisp and songs were enjoyable enough. Yet, the set felt decidedly hollow, as if nothing substantial was actually played. Ultimately, Kuroma got the job done, leaving the audience to anticipate more exciting coming attractions.
After a brief hiatus, The White Panda took the stage. According to Keller, she sought the duo because its mash-ups and high-energy music were distinctive from MGMT.
“The basic premise behind booking White Panda is that their sound is different from MGMT’s and it would complement their sound in a way that it would draw a different crowd,” she said. “I thought they were the perfect pump-up band.”
The White Panda is comprised of Tom Evans and Dan Griffith - better known by their stage names Procrast and DJ Griffi, respectively.
The pair, dressed in white suits and light-up panda masks, stayed mostly behind its DJ booth. Despite The White Panda’s mostly static stage presence, the infectious and bass-heavy music was exactly what the concert needed.
The pair blended songs from Adele and Rihanna to Nirvana to Carly Rae Jepsen. Its mash-ups were fun and catered to the dance-obsessed generation and would feel right at home at the Inn Between Tavern. The White Panda used its small size and lack of live instruments to its advantage in crafting a wholly memorable, yet brief, set.
It wasn’t until nearly 9:45 p.m. when MGMT finally came on stage. The group opened with “Flash Delirium,” a fun, upbeat choice. MGMT then slowed down the pace by playing mostly mellow songs that conveyed a carefree vibe.
Carefree may be the best word to describe MGMT’s set and brief encore. The group’s general demeanor and apparent attitude gave off the impression that being entertaining wasn’t its top priority.
At the start of the concert, lead vocalist Andrew VanWyngarden asked what Geneseo’s area code is, prompting the crowd to attempt to shout and mime to him the number. He then joked that the band would be playing a new song titled “Area Codes.” Near the end of the set, VanWyngarden joked that the band took “a lot of Sudafed.”
Still, the group was quite entertaining at times. VanWyngarden’s outfit was goofy, consisting of tight, shiny purple pants and a matching bandana. The band also played popular singles “Time to Pretend” and “Electric Feel” from Oracular Spectacular.
Surprisingly, the group completely omitted “Kids” from its set list, which is arguably its most popular song. VanWyngarden even teased the audience during its encore by announcing that its last song was about “young people,” yet the group played “The Youth” instead.
While MGMT’s music proved interesting overall, it was ultimately too laidback to make the show completely outstanding.