Last Night: Matt & Kim at Cafe Du Nord
Monday, February 2, 2009
Cafe Du Nord
Better Than: Matt & Kim is the BEST thing to happen to Monday since Gossip Girl!
My whirlwind romance with Matt & Kim began at one of Seattle's many always-all-ages, volunteer-run music spaces. They played a small stage, crowded by some-20 attendees. They only had a five-song demo and a lot of enthusiasm. I remember everyone jumping, dancing, clapping and singing along for the entirety of their little set. They brought the coveted sound of Brooklyn basements to the eager ears of Pacific Northwest youngsters -- cool without pretentiousness, completely uninhibited. Some things have changed. Matt & Kim have since released two full lengths and gained a substantial following. Some things have not, they're still the coolest, sweetest and most rockin' duo Brooklyn has to offer.
Matt & Kim's sold-out show at Cafe Du Nord was a landmark event for them. It was the first time they sold out a show before it started. Standing in line at 8:15 I heard the doorman say they had just sold their last few tickets. The tour promotes Matt & Kim's second full album called Grand. The album was recorded at Matt's parents house in Vermont. It's cleaner and more professional than their self titled debut album, but just as charming. The album marked another very important day for them, as its release coincided with the inaguration of Obama. Matt nearly launched into a speech about this, but eventually decided he'd rather just play some music.
The crowd packed around the low stage as Matt & Kim set up their equipment -- Kim's drum on the left, Matts keyboard and mic on the right. They brought out a big white board and for a moment I thought they might ask the crowd to sign it like they did at their Bottom of the Hill show last year. Instead, they turned on a projector and a series of images (first their logo, then album cover, then album art, then photo clips of fireworks) played across the board and ceiling.
The sound was loud - ears ringing within seconds kind of loud, which seemed appropriately basementlike. The low stage seemed fitting as well, a reminder of the basements and floors the duo played on in the past. They started with a few "warmup songs" ("I Wanna" and "Spare Change" off of Grand). The setlist equally represented their two full lengths and one demo. "I Wanna," "Spare Change," "Cutdown," "Good Ol Fashioned Nightmare," "Cinders" and "Daylight" off of Grand; "It's a Fact (Printed Stained)," "Ready? Ok." and "Yea Yeah" off of Matt & Kim; and "5K" and "Silver Tiles" (their trademark last song) off of the demo.
For Matt & Kim it was another perfect show, full of enthusasm (I've never seen either Matt or Kim not smile), fantastic live interpretations of their songs (nothing they ever play in concert sounds quite like the record), handclaps and fun. Much to Matt & Kim's delight and my dismay, the crowd was uncharactaristically aggressive. Fash songs induced mosh pits that slow songs couldn't pacify. The low stage became an enemy as my fellow front row fans and I nearly toppled onto Kim's drumset, knees bruising against the stage. Those who came to dance and have fun found themselves violently shoved around. Still, no amount of pushing and shoving could take the fun out of Matt & Kim.
Personal bias: Alright, I'm a little nostalgic about the good ol' Matt & Kim shows.
Random detail: Kim told a story about how San Francisco was the first place she and Matt were ever asked to sign a girl's breast. Kim did it right away, Matt got nervous.
By the way: Tomorrow they play in LA.