Concert Review

Matt & Kim Perform at Cat’s Cradle, Bring Most Annoying Fans Ever.

I never expected to start a concert review with a Ghandi quote, but alas–  “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.” When I heard that Matt & Kim were coming to Cat’s Cradle several months ago, I was stoked. Though I was less than impressed by their most recent release of Sidewalks, who wouldn’t want to hear “Daylight” performed live? Better yet, The Hood Internet were opening. I spent far too many high school nights (and if I’m honest, college nights too) driving around blasting mashups like “Billie ‘Wildcat’ Jean” and “In The Air Ce Soir” to miss a live show by the two men behind it! I snatched a ticket to the concert like the greedy mofo I am and suggested the infamous DJ Shorty Shorts and another friend join me.

Before I begin being really dramatic (as usual), I should clarify that we were truly excited to go. We planned our evening around the concert, driving to Chapel Hill early to make time for sushi and a personal favorite past time, jay-walking. We got to the venue several minutes before the show started with our grooves on…

The Hood Internet had a strong open, and their stage presence was enormous. They spun great tunes and had a flawless performance, though I did feel alienated by the second half of their set. They mashed up indie hits like The XX, Bibio, and of course Matt & Kim, but apparently, I’m not hip enough to get their pop culture references anymore. I’m pretty sure I heard some Justin Bieber mixed in near the end, and the worst thing was that the samples I felt most alienated by absolutely fueled the crowd of middle schoolers around me. They loved that stuff! Radiohead’s “Reckoner,” though, and they turned their head sideways in confusion. I should mention that I did hear a beautifully off-key, oddly syncopated, whiny rendition of “Creep” by the group of high schoolers to my left, though. All 40 of them. Come on, kids. Come on. You don’t live in High School Musical. We’re not all in this together… in fact, I’d like you to shut up and leave the singing to the professionals.

The Hood Internet packed up their things after about forty-five minutes of adrenaline-filled dancing and… for some odd reason, the house lights weren’t turned back up. I don’t think most of the crowd realized that The Hood Internet was finished, because they kept dancing to the remixes being played over the speakers. What was already a tight, tight crowd only condensed because surprise! Nobody was old enough to drink so nobody moved to the bar, nobody budged, people kept dancing to set-change music, and the late-comers showed up and pushed in on the crowd.

Amidst the chaos and confusion, it’s time for your introduction to big-head kid. By the time Matt & Kim came to the stage, my view was as follows, thanks to big-head kid:

I don’t even know how big his actual head was, but his hair was HUGE and he spread his arms as though he were trying to scare a bear off in the woods by becoming the largest person possible. I tried to take pictures during the show, but every single picture had big-head kid as the focal point. I don’t know how, but he managed to be everywhere I moved without fail.

Matt & Kim were fun and kind of bad ass, but in that middle school way. They talked to the audience a lot between songs, but every other word out of their mouth was “fuck.” Who were they trying to impress? I promise that I’m not a prude, but the words flowed out of their mouths so unnaturally that I began to cringe after a while. These are the musicians that the hipstahs are idolizing? I really wanted to like Matt & Kim, and I see why people do; they both have a great chemistry and play off of each other’s personalities on stage, but I couldn’t help but feel like it was all an act. They were desperately feeding off of their audience’s expectations of a bad-ass, and I just wasn’t it. It felt like watching MTV mixed with 21st century Nickelodeon after they killed Double Dare 2000, Rocket Power, and Hey Arnold!, and… that’s just so not cool.

In retrospect, I think we missed the obvious warning signs. The parking lot was filled with SUVs fit for the typical soccer mom. I saw an abandoned balloon floating away into the sky as we approached the venue. Storm clouds were rolling towards us, and as a burst of lightning flashed across the night sky, I saw the dark mark looming overhead. In the venue, I had to wait in a line to sign in to the underage list… and walking in, I was one of the tallest people there. This concert won the award for most awkward of 2011, and we’re only in June. I don’t see what could trump it. It beat the seizure at Baths’ concert in Durham amidst Will Wisenfeld’s freezing Macbook Pro. It slaughtered Diamond Rings’ Napoleon Dynamite dance moves and Superchunk bashing. The Matt & Kim show was a circus filled with kids. The audience was rude, they shoved people around, and ultimately, I left about 20 minutes early. I’ve never done that at a show before. I couldn’t do stay. I was suffocating. I had a crappy view, the kids in front of me began making out loudly, and the guy behind me yelled “I LOST MY VIRGINITY TO THIS SONG” as “Daylight” was playing (sad times, man… sad times). It was just not my cup of tea.

I really like Sidewalks and Grand, and I wanted to like Matt & Kim in concert… but the fans completely ruined it for me. I’ve never been to such an obnoxious show, and I doubt I’ll subject myself to one ever again.



Music News and Interviews

DJ Ones’ Five Music Facts from the past week

1. Matt & Kim have announced a massive tour with a show in Carborro at Cats Cradle in October. The duo plans on returning to the area after the band plays several festivals and shows including Lollapalooza.(via Pitchfork)

2. Justin Vernon, more commonly known as Bon Iver, is set to play alongside Megafaun at the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham this September. The two acts will collaborate for three nights, and the two plan on holding several conversations at Duke and the surrounding area the week of September 13. (via Triangle Music)

3. Interpol has signed back to Matador records. After releasing their 2007 album Our Love to Admire on Capitol, the band is set to release their album this year on their old record label. (via Paste)

4. Klaxons, who haven’t made much noise in the music world since their debut album in 2007, have announced plans to release their sophomore album this fall. The album is entitled Surfing the Void and contains one of the most interesting album covers in recent memory. (via Pitchfork)

5. Dave Sitek is set to record an album alongside Karen O, and it will be released in August. The album is set to have a more dance based feeling. Sitek told NME, “I had total freedom when I was making this record, so when I was recording it, it felt like I was putting everything into one basket and letting it float off into space.” (via NME)

New Album Review

WKNC Pick of the Week 2/24

Matt & Kim aims for the sweet spot with ’Grand
Jon Gomes

Matt & Kim, in all its lackadaisical glory, is an indulgence. The bubbly Brooklyn duo is the musical equivalent of Cinnamon Toast Crunch–sweet, sugary and perfect for those late Saturday mornings after you’ve slept for ten hours.

Just spin its self-titled debut from 2006 and listen for yourself. The album has the haphazard energy of a second grader after a bag of Sour Patch Kids. There’s an air of excitement and mild chaos, but the music isn’t in your face. On their latest release Grand, Matt and Kim have maintained their pop sensibilities while exploring new dynamics.

The opener, “Daylight,” encapsulates the album’s carefree mood. A triumphant piano riff cascades over a jaunty marching rhythm while synthesizers drone and wail in the background. The carpe diem lyrics evoke memories of summer, with lines like “Open hydrant, rolled down windows / This car might make a good old boat / And float down Grand Street in daylight.” The track is the perfect anthem for sunny afternoons and captures the positive vibes of Grand.

The album’s upbeat energy is channeled into the next track, “Cutdown.” A buzzing bassline underlies gentle synth strings that launch into a beautiful, drum-heavy crescendo at the end of the track. As quickly as it built up, the momentum slows down a bit with the wistful and slow “Good Ol Fashioned Nightmare.” This shift in dynamics makes Grand sound more varied and mature than its predecessor. Matt & Kim delve into slower, more relaxed moods throughout the album in tracks like “Turn This Boat Around” and the outro remix of “Daylight.”

Of note is the impressive production quality–clean and loud. In particular, the drums have a powerful presence that lends itself to the album’s energy. The rhythms on Grand sound huge, especially in “I Wanna” and “Don’t Slow Down.” Both are unrelentingly upbeat tracks driven by Kim’s lively percussion and Matt’s frenetic synth work. As with The Black Keys or Death From Above 1979, it is hard to believe that all the music comes from only two people.

The drums drop out completely for “Turn This Boat Around,” which is carried completely on vocals and simple keyboard parts. The calmness quickly turns into madness with “Cinders,” a short instrumental that spirals upward into synth-and-drums euphoria. Grand closes with an interesting, stripped-down mix of “Daylight,” which nicely ties back to the beginning of the album. The entire album is only a scant 29 minutes long–just like the weekend, because you’ll wish it lasted longer.

Full of energy and free of care, Grand revels in its youthfulness. Pop music is meant to be fun music, and this album convincingly validates that claim. The next time you find yourself in the middle of a bright, sunny Saturday afternoon, put this record on. You won’t regret it.

88.1 WKNC DJ Pick of the Week is published in every Tuesday print edition of the Technician, as well as online at and