The headliners of the first day of New Jersey’s Bamboozle festival had a decidedly pop bent, but the marquee names on day two were more about the slippery beast known as “indie,” or at least the brand of it that fills crowds with manic, sweaty fans ready to hoist their camera phones should something of note happen.
But there was something else linking Matt & Kim, Girl Talk and MGMT — as well as Weezer, who closed out the night: cutting and pasting. Matt & Kim’s energetic, punchy set was marked by borrowed licks from Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone” (which, as it turns out, Weezer once covered) and Gary Glitter’s “Rock & Roll, Pt. 2.” Girl Talk’s wedding-gone-wild M.O. is all about the “something borrowed” part of the bridal superstition, and MGMT’s set-ending performance of their sleeper anthem “Kids” was dedicated to the headliners, who put their own spin on the song during one of their festival-closing encores.
The peppy duo Matt & Kim cut their teeth in Brooklyn’s lofts, but they quickly became enamored of the enthusiastic crowd gathered in the Meadowlands parking lot on Sunday. “All you motherfuckers are my fuckin’ favorite,” Kim Schifino exclaimed at one point, and it was hardly the only time she showed her unbridled enthusiasm for the crowd. For their part, the attendees reciprocated, whirling themselves into a frenzy for propulsive tracks like “Daylight” and “Lessons Learned.”
Immediately following was a throwdown by Girl Talk’s Gregg Gillis, who brings together snatches of music from all corners of the pop universe to create an on-the-fly Now That’s What I Call a Party compilation. His brief Sunday set, during which he was surrounded by an undulating mass of fans and balloons, included snippets of Journey, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Drake, Kelly Clarkson, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, OutKast, Van Halen and Belinda Carlisle. The overall effect was not unlike a hyperkinetic Sweet 16, until the very end, when Gillis dropped John Lennon’s “Imagine” and the crowd joined voices to sing along with the somberly optimistic track.
The downshift was perhaps an appropriate segue into the set by MGMT, the glam-prog outfit whose new album Congratulations is being met with confusion from some corners. It’s certainly not as immediate a listen as the group’s keyboard-spangled Oracular Spectacular, but it is a somewhat bewitchingly strange pop album. At one point a man canvassed the crowd handing out 3-D glasses, which seemed appropriate both for the red-and-blue beams surrounding the band and for the pillowy, proggy songs they rocked from the new record. MGMT brought back the doubters by closing their set with the sugar-coated “Kids,” and as fans’ camera phones were held aloft, they lobbed a question at the next headliner: “Hey, Weezer, are you playing this song, too? It’s our song.”
As it turned out, the answer was “yes,” although it wouldn’t be answered until much later in Weezer’s set. For the first hour or so, Rivers Cuomo and Co. spanned most of their lengthy catalog, from their debut-album-opening anthem “My Name Is Jonas” to the punchy, “Town Called Malice”-inspired “(If You’re Wondering If I Want You To) I Want You To,” which appears on the band’s latest album Raditude.
Cuomo worked the crowd, which welcomed the band — and its sizeable back catalog — with open arms, raised voices and even the odd bit of moshing. It was during the first encore (which was introduced by the band replicating the drum and guitar solos that open Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher”) that “Kids” was brought out and interpolated with Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” not to mention a blonde wig on Cuomo’s head. While the borrowed bits of other songs delighted the crowd, Weezer opted to end the night and the festival with “Buddy Holly,” demonstrating they still have plenty of firepower from their own catalog.