December 21, 2009
Room 5, Los Angeles
Sara B: The Coolest Chick Ever
If you’ve never seen Sara Bareilles perform, then you’re missing out on more than just music. You’re missing great comedy, authenticity, diversity balanced with consistency, and the coolest chick ever. This is why I’m choosing to write about a show that took place last year – because it was that good.
I was backing up some of my video files earlier today and revisited the footage I shot of Bareilles’s secret show at Room 5 in December. Her “Gravity” intro still makes me laugh, while her performance of the song continues to give me chills. I was happy Bareilles’s Grammy-nominated and “fuck off record label” tune, “Love Song,” made it to the set list even though I’d heard it countless times before. Her freshly penned song about the show Jersey Shore, written with a holiday twist, had everybody in the audience doubled over in laughter.
Bareilles’s guest appearance at Room 5′s weekly songwriters-in-the-round gathering was spontaneous, playful, and fun. You almost forgot you were there to see music. . . and then Bareilles would sing. When she sings, you’re quickly reminded why you’re there. When the show is over you’ll start thinking about when you can see Bareilles next.
Why is Bareilles the coolest chick ever? She can write, she can sing, she will make you laugh, she’s genuine, she’s unique, she’s got attitude and style. . . But what makes Bareilles cool is that she’s all that AND one of the most loyal and kind people in the world. She’s had a lot of success, has nearly 2 million followers on Twitter, and she stills shows up for her friends. She continues to play shows at Hotel Cafe to raise money for charity, even though she can sell out The Wiltern. She supports her friends, drops in on their shows, and plays for free. Rather than cancel a previously scheduled performance in Los Angeles when she was given the opportunity to appear on a TV show in New York last year, she flew across the country immediately following the TV taping and played two shows back to back the same night. You can support Sara Bareilles for her music; you can support her because she makes you laugh; or you can support her simply because she’s a good person who deserves all the success in the world.
Bareilles seeks the definition of “tie one on” and then teaches everybody the meaning of “Gravity”:
In honor of MTV’s Jersey Shore:
Last “Love Song” of the decade:
LA 101 Festival
Gibson Amphitheater, Universal City
November 3, 2009
Matt and Kim know how to have a good time
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.
Kim and Matt
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.