Live: Matt & Kim Bring Their Nuclear-Powered Cheerfulness To Webster Hall
Better than: Most other "don't-worry-be-happy"-type situations.
"I'm going to refer to this Wednesday night as 'Friday night' from now on!" shouts Matt, as the young-and-pretty Webster Hall crowd roars and Kim beams exuberantly, because that's what Kim does -- smiles longer and harder and brighter than any human being on earth. You are powerless against the relentless, infectious, nuclear-scale cheerfulness of Matt & Kim, their keyboards-and-drums-and-yelping dance-punk jams good enough but almost beside the point, subsumed by just the nonstop enthusiasm radiating from everyone, onstage and off. The young-and-pretty crowd jumps up and down with such ferocity that I get really honestly concerned about the structural integrity of Webster Hall's floor.
So here we have Brooklyn's favorite call-them-cute-and-they'll-kill-you duo/couple/giddiness-inducing social phenomenon, playing the second of two triumphant hometown shows (Matt: "We took the subway here today, like the rest of y'all!") to support their new record, Sidewalks, out next week and more or less ignored during this 90-minute set, save the remake of their own "Silver Tiles" (the "All our hopes/And all our friends" one), the whole thing still no match for the live M&K experience, though it's a gas to watch their albums get progressively more expensive-sounding. Instead, we get the usual blast of spazz-punk jams intermingled with goofy quick-hit covers ("Shimmy Shimmy Ya," "Just a Friend"), balloon-launching interludes, and separate crowd-surfing trips for both Matt and Kim, both soundtracked by Major Lazer.
Pretty fuckin' cute, this is. Even if you find this all a touch shrill and cloying in theory, there really is no substitute for watching people genuinely enjoy themselves -- a rarer thing than you'd imagine. The show ends with their absurdly anthemic "Daylight," of course, but the true highlight is right before it, when they unfurl another goofy cover: Alice DeeJay's Euro-cheese classic "Better Off Alone," that melodramatic keyboard melody instantly recognizable, the crowd's sing-a-long chant of "Do you think you're better off alone?" a nice bit of gleeful irony, given that all these people clearly couldn't be happier about being stuffed into a room together. The floor holds up. What a great way to spend a Friday night.
Personal Bias: This year's Siren Festival, I suppose.
Overheard: Somebody on the stairs walking out launches into the Antoine Dodson "Bed Intruder" routine, unfortunately.
Random Notebook Dump: Donnis closes his opening set by noting that "The King and the Queen" are coming up next, and "Kim will shove one of those drumsticks up your motherfuckin' ass, she don't play."
Samir's Theme [King Amir]
Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare
The 900 Number [45 King]
It's a Fact (Printed Stained)
Shimmy Shimmy Ya [ODB]
Just a Friend [Biz Markie]
I'll Take Us Home
Turn This Boat Around
Better Off Alone [Alice DeeJay]