The time leading up to Holy Fuck was spent in a wandering daze, moving from funnel of people to funnel of people as we searched for the shortest beer and bathroom lines and tried unsuccessfully to meet up with other friends in attendance. We waited for the beers, but the lines to the Honey Buckets looked like they’d have taken half an hour to get through. Holy Fuck was just starting to play at the Main Stage though, so it was time to suck and up and hold it for the night.
Holy Fuck were a few songs into their set when we got there, and while at first the vibe seemed to be that a lot of people were just milling and talking in anticipation of MGMT, it soon became impossible to ignore how amazing Holy Fuck were on stage. They play electronic rock that is all instrumental except for the few bursts of sound front man Brain Borcherdt would quickly make into the microphone that would then carry out for seconds with echo and delay and god knows what else. The band is as legitimate as it gets. The fact that they use bass, drums, guitar, keyboards, as well as all kinds of effects pedals and other gear (including some type of film reel) and not laptops and turntables, to play the kind of electronic dance rock they play is impressive. The entire band was perfectly in time the whole night, hitting every note, totally in sync, and drummer Matt Schulz was one of the best live drummers I’ve seen in a while. I was in awe. The highlight for me was “Red Lights,” which they jammed out for a good while. After it was over we turned to each other and couldn’t help but say “Holy Fuck!”
Things were running a little behind on the Main Stage, so MGMT didn’t come on until closer to 11:00 instead of their scheduled start time of 10:30. Coming into the day I had resigned myself to the fact that I probably would barely even be able to see MGMT when they were playing; I didn’t expect to want to deal with the crowd trying to get up close. Somehow, however, we ended up about twenty rows back and in prime position. Except for a three or four song lull about halfway through, their set was solid and they played a good mix from both of their albums. I can’t stress how amazing “Electric Feel” is live. Definitely my favorite of the night. It was one of several songs that blew me away compared to their album versions. MGMT definitely pulls it all off live and then some. They ended with “Time to Pretend” which got the crowd jumping in unison, and came out to play “Congratulations” as an encore. The slower encore song served as exit music for most of the crowd though, as the mass had started to loosen up as people were starting to make their way out to the bars or over to Neumos. In my case it was the bathroom or bust.