Remember when you were wee and you still had birthday parties? Your friends would come over to your house and there’d be balloons and party poppers, and you’d tire yourself out jumping around like a loon and just generally having fun? Pure, simple fun? Right, now imagine that but you’re not wee any more. And there’s a bar right over there. And there are these two people playing thumping garage punk electro-pop in your face. What you’re imagining is Matt & Kim.
Matt & Kim have a reputation for putting on a raucous show, and it’s a reputation that’s well deserved. The duo perform with an unmatched energy, and from the moment they step on stage there’s barely a pause for breath. They have an interesting dynamic, coming over a bit like kids’ TV presenters gone wrong. Matt’s the slightly more level headed one, reeling in Kim’s wilder personality as she, in turn, pulls him out. He works the crowd, eggs them on, while she climbs out from behind her drum kit and actually on to the audience in a display that’s more crowd-walking than crowd-surfing.
The allusion to a child’s party is no exaggeration; there’s balloons, there’s ticker tape, at one point there’s even a parachute unfurled over the audience just in case you’d forgotten what primary school PE was like. The set, comprised of a fairly even selection from the five albums Matt & Kim have produced, is peppered with refrains from the likes of the Beastie Boys’ No Sleep Till Brooklyn, Van Halen’s Jump and Rihanna’s Umbrella, cultural touchstones that confirm that the conjured party atmosphere is no mistake.
All this comes at a cost though. The music itself is fairly repetitive, Matt & Kim having struck on a sound and song structure that works for them and deviated little from it. The frenetic delivery inevitably leads to moments of sloppiness in the performance, understandable when the keyboard player is balancing on his stool with one leg in the air and the drummer is twerking on a platform over the drum kit, but jarring nonetheless. As an experience though, it’s singular. If a party is your idea of a night out, Matt & Kim are your people. You’ll be half expecting to be handed a goody bag on the way out.