(See 30-photo slide show from Matt and Kim last night.)
M&K's music isn't complicated: Take one part circus-theme keyboards -- with an emphasis on the primitive and repetitive -- one part unpolished vocals and add in riotous, dancefloor-ready drums. While on its albums (including and especially its most recent LP, Grand) the music has more new wave/'80s electro influences, live, the act strips its music down to the rhythmic, party-ready core. For that reason, last night it was easy to be fatigued by the pair's shambling body-movers -- many of the songs sounded the same, and came off as cloying.
What saves the duo is its ebullience.The band is so happy onstage, the more cynical or curmudgeonly in attendance might want to smack them both. (Matt in particular looks and acts like that fresh-faced kid who lived for drama class in high school, the one who was really outgoing and earnest, to an annoying fault.) But M&K is sincere about its fun. And totally serious about having a blast: Kim crowdsurfed within the first fifteen minutes of the show and contributed vocals live -- for the first time, Matt said -- on the debut airing of "Lessons Learned." And Matt fomented the crowd with windmill arm-spins, dorky dancing and unself-conscious singing.
With so many bands stressing pomp, circumstance and complexity over a good time, Matt & Kim are a refreshing breath of air -- a band focusing on the innocent, childlike aim of just having fun.