Fuck Taco Bell and fuck whosever job it was to throw tacos into the crowd last night at MTV’s VMA concert at Webster Hall. Now after reading that, you may be thinking, “Why the hostility?” Well it’s hard to stay objective when what you think is chunky vomit landing on you turns out to be hot meaty cheese being thrown around like it’s funny. Now I can check off watching stage hands wipe taco “meat” off the stage from my bucket list. Despite the terrible marketing idea of raining tacos, MTV put on quite the VMA pre-show. Webster Hall was dressed to the nines. LED screens, projectors, circus performers with glowing hula hoops donned the New York City venue. More impressively however was Wildcat Wildcat, who were able to keep the crowd’s attention focused towards the stage and away from Instagramming the giant multicolored light fixture hanging from the ceiling.
Wildcat Wildcat immediately caused cheers the second they walked on stage. And with their impeccably pristine four part harmonies topped with folk subtleties in the midst of their melodic electronic sound, there was nothing but awe to experience when watching this band perform. It’s common to catch Wildcat Wildcat bassist Jesse Taylor and keyboardist Michael Wilson making eye contact when they perform because when they do, there’s nothing but warm smiles stretching across each of their faces. “You don’t have to be alone” Jesse Taylor crooned repeatedly, trying his best to make the message clear. And as he sang those words over and over, the vacuous Webster Hall seemed to become even more intimate, despite the distracting decor whose intent seemed like the opposite. But as intimate as that track was, “The Chief,” did quite the opposite when the band brought onstage their sax player, really riling up the crowd.
Wildcat Wildcat’s sanguine performance set the mood for the rest of the night. With such a strong opener, the crowd was buzzing with electricity for New Politics. And when the Denmark band walked on stage, their synergy felt palpable throughout the venue and continued throughout their killer set. When you watch New Politics perform, it’s impossible not to feel positivity. And the reason why that is is simple: New Politics know how to illicit a response from their audience and they do it without fail. Each member of the band simply exudes a jubilance that’s undeniably addictive.
Whether it’s Søren Hansen’s suspenseful guitar throwing or David Boyd recording himself with a fan’s iPhone, you’re never bored when New Politics perform. And while their stage presence is something many bands fail to achieve, their musical ability in a live setting is an even rarer talent. With their set list consisting mostly of this year’s A Bad Girl in Harlem, songs like “Harlem” and “Tonight You’re Perfect” were performed flawlessly. New Politics ended their set with a powerful rendition of “Yeah Yeah Yeah” that had the floor literally shaking. And what happened after New Politics left the stage? People immediately began to Google the Copenhagen band to look up their WikiPedia page. (Scout’s honor) And that my friends is how you know if a band can leave an impact that’s more than just momentary euphoria.
The growth of California’s The Neighbourhood has been exponential since their ubiquitous “Sweater Weather” took music lover’s ears by storm. And the crowd’s love for this band was apparent when they walked onstage in the middle of New Politics’ set, causing instant screams. Their amazingly catchy tracks off of I Love You. were played to perfection. No gimmick or flashy decoration could peel the audience’s eyes away from the stage. And maybe that’s The Neighbourhood’s gimmick: holding the attention of a room in their hands with their music alone.