LA 101 Festival
Gibson Amphitheater, Universal City
November 3, 2009
I first became aware of Matt and Kim when I heard their single, “Daylight” on the radio. That’s a miracle in and of itself because with the exception of KCRW, I don’t listen to the radio much. In fact, it’s quite possible I first heard Matt and Kim on KCRW. I liked “Daylight” – thought it was a catchy song. I also liked the simplicity of the name “Matt and Kim.” If you know many musicians, you’ve likely heard their woes of trying to come up with a band name they like and that’s not already taken. Matt and Kim seemed to say, “F*&k it – we’re Matt and Kim. We are who we are.” and I appreciate that.
My next encounter with Matt and Kim was when I saw their video for “Lessons Learned” playing on some music video channel, which I can only assume was Vh1 because there’s not much music on Music Television (that’s what MTV actually used to stand for). The fact that I saw their video is also a bit of a miracle because I don’t watch much TV. But, I was at the gym and that’s what was on. What a contrast the images playing on CNN were alongside Matt & Kim’s video, which features them taking off all their clothes in Times Square, New York. “F*&k it – we’re going to have fun!” is what I took away from that video, and again, I liked it.
My third encounter with Matt and Kim was during the LA 101 Festival held at Gibson Amphitheater. Another miracle (or rather, a case of me just sucking it up). That venue is on the opposite side of LA from where I am, requires venturing through the valley in rush hour traffic, and often doesn’t present the best sound. But I like people who are who they are and who say, “F*&k it – let’s have fun!” so I made the trek to Universal city to see Matt and Kim.
When Matt and Kim hit the stage there was a sizable crowd, but it appeared sparse due to how spread out everybody was. That’s what happens in LA – half the audience is at the venue; the other half is stuck in traffic or looking for parking. So after playing their first song, Matt instructed everybody to forget about those stay-in-your-seat (and the larger box society tries to keep you in) rules. “I know they tell you to stay in your seat, but wherever you are – everybody, just come down here to the front,” he suggested. Matt and Kim launched into their next song as the crowd rushed forward to the floor and lower orchestra seats.
Matt and Kim not only played an energetic set, they played and sang with a constant smile on their faces. They’re charming, gracious, fun, and unconventional. Between songs a voice was heard through their monitors, “Matt – security won’t let people move down. They need to stay in their seats.” This prompted Kim to grab the mic, “Ok, so you can’t move forward. Well, let me show you what to do. This is what you can do while you’re forced to stay in your seat. First, stand on your seat, and then. . . do THIS!!” With that, Kim broke into a dance that seemed to communicate, “Ok, I’m in my seat and I’m still having fun. Ha ha! What are you going to do now, Security?!” This sent the crowd into hysterics and also inspired even more energetic dancing and crowd participation in the fun that comes with a Matt and Kim show.
“Thank you for being here and thank you for letting us do this,” Matt said graciously. “We just do this because we love it – and that’s the only reason you should do anything in life,” he continued as the duo launched into their next song. They completed their short, good-humored, rebellious set with, “Daylight,” which is exactly what Gibson Amphitheater needed – a little lightening up!
Matt and Kim’s songs are fun. Matt and Kim’s show is fun. Matt and Kim’s attitude is fun. So be who you are, get out of your seat, say “f*&k it!”, go see Matt and Kim, and have yourself a good time.