Scenes From Monday Night's MS MR Show at the House of Blues.
If one could anthropomorphize Tumblr and distill its essence into a group of people, he or she would likely end up with something like the crowd that packed the House of Blues' Cambridge Room on Monday night. Which is to say, basically, that the crowd that showed up to take in that night's set from New York art-pop duo MS MR was overwhelmingly young, almost achingly cool and — as evidenced by the multitude of smartphones recording at all times — exceedingly comfortable with technology.
This is no surprise either, as MS MR has very much exploited the microblogging site to great effect throughout its buzzy rise. The release of the band's debut EP — last September's Candy Bar Creep Show — was explicitly planned to be Tumblr-friendly. As Wired well documented, MS MR made the record's four songs easily shareable through a specially designed widget, while also providing audio stems for remixes and including multimedia — usually a twisted video collage — with each song.
For their efforts, Lizzy Plapinger (MS) and Max Hershenow (MR) have been rewarded with a fiercely loyal base of fans on social media, spots at this year's Glastonbury and Austin City Limits festivals, and licensing of their songs on such notable television shows as Pretty Little Liars and Grey's Anatomy.
This much is clear: MS MR can market itself. And that was could be seen first-hand, too, in the fact that the band sold out a decent-sized room on a Monday for its Dallas debut.
What was less clear, at least before Plapinger and Hershenow took the stage following a hyperactive set from Vancouver electro act Bear Mountain, was how well MS MR's highly stylized, visual-focused, impeccably produced aesthetic would translate to a live setting.
Quite well, it turns out.
The best way to describe the headliner's set — which began with Plapinger being lit so that her skin appeared blue (so much for worrying about the visual component not being there) — is that it was endearing. The duo smiled and danced its way through its entire set list, which culled almost exclusively from MS MR's May full-length, Secondhand Rapture, and fed off a crowd that sang along with every song. Everything about the performance felt genuine, down to Plapinger sounding just the slightest bit hoarse — probably due to having performed the day before at ACL.
But The true highlight of the set — and it was really was terrific — was the second-to-last song, a pitch-perfect cover of LCD Soundsystem's “Dance Yrself Clean,” which cathartically dispersed all the energy that had accumulated in the room over the course of the evening. It was fun for both the band and crowd, so much so that MS MR's closer — “Hurricane,” Secondhand Rapture's best song — came off as just a little bit anticlimactic. Nevertheless, it capped good-natured, easily enjoyed show, and a way better than average way to end a Monday and ease into the rest of ACL Spillover 2013.