September 28, 2010 | 4:50pm
Move aside, angry pigeons -- piss is the new birdshit. In a story that seems too good to be true, MGMT drummer Will Berman was hit in the chest by a glass full of urine during a gig at the Manchester Apollo Sunday night. The band was in the middle of the song "The Handshake," from their admittedly less than stellar 2010 album Congratulations, when a glass full of urine was hurled at Berman, striking him in the chest/torso. The band had started their next song, "Kids," before they noticed Berman had left, pleading with fans as to his whereabouts.
As pointed out by Pitchfork
, this incident raises some rather interesting questions
, i.e. "how did someone manage to fill a glass with urine?" and "how did the urine not fly out once the glass was hurled at Berman?" They are still looking for details from those in the crowd Sunday night, but one thing still remains: Berman was incensed to the literal point of no return, forcing MGMT to finish their set -- which was only two songs ("Kids" and "Congratulations") -- without percussion.
UPDATE: It was not piss, after all. Andrew VanWyngarden has emailed Pitchfork to clear the air, his explanation of the incident can be read after the jump.
Although we're sure everyone's life could go on just fine without an "official clarification" of something that happened to that band MGMT somewhere in England, things have gotten to a point where we feel obligated to defend our selves and tell people the real story: witches, this: At the start of "Kids", MGMT's most popular song to date and the second-to-last song in the set, a celebratory cup of hearty Manchester ale, NOT URINE, was hurled into the air in the direction of the stage, thereupon landing in the lap of William Berman, the current world's best drummer. As we understand, thrown cups of beer are a sign of affection over here, whereas thrown bottles of urine mean the opposite. So, thank you Manchester for your affection.
Oh well -- it was fun while it lasted. VanWyngarden's letter
is actually pretty ridiculous, going so far as to call Berman the "current world's best drummer," mentioning that Johnny Marr was in attendance and even rating the show a "strong 7.1" on a scale of 1 to 10.
For those who have seen MGMT live and aren't completely enamored with the band, this story perhaps comes as not a big surprise. When I initially came across the story, I wasn't that surprised -- I've seen MGMT live, and they are, for lack of a better term, underwhelming. Now, they are not so to the point of deserving piss-bombs, but the sentiment still remains -- something had to be off/not in their favor to elicit such a reaction from the Manchester crowd. As well, the news that Columbia -- MGMT's current label --
isn't giving the band as much freedom
on their next LP doesn't sit well with what happened Sunday night.
But back to seeing MGMT live -- my chance to se them perform live was at Coachella in 2008. They had only released Oracular Spectacular at that point, so their set was rife with the hits from that album -- "Electric Feel," "Time to Pretend," and "Kids." I had listened to the album plenty of times and had grown to appreciate it by that point. My cynicism towards the band started that Saturday in late April, however, once they wrapped up their set. Underwhelmed is the best way I can describe how they slogged through the aforementioned songs, having little to no banter with the audience. Couple that bad taste in my mouth, if you will, for the band with the fact that you couldn't swing a dead cat in the spring of 2008 without hearing "Time to Pretend" on the radio, and my attitude towards MGMT had, admittedly, soured. That was ultimately my decision, but the band gave me very little to look forward to.
Fast forward to Sunday night, and the band is getting piss thrown at them, albeit unfairly. What happened to them at the Manchester Apollo was wrong, but it can, sadly, somewhat be justified, given the rocky course that Congratulations has mapped out for itself. That justification must be filtered through the lens of a assumedly drunk, rowdy concertgoer, but the final sentiment remains. The damage is done, but here's hoping that MGMT can clear the air of what happened Sunday night and move ahead (edit: and move on they have).