Tag Archive for 'concerts'

Matt and Kim at the Fox Theater in Oakland

This past Saturday night, I went and watched Matt & Kim perform at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California. While being a band with only a keyboardist and drummer, they are known for their upbeat music and energetic crowds. I walked into the show with high expectations, as it was my second time seeing them (I had seen their amazing performance at Live 105‘s BFD in 2010), and I expected this show to be better than the last because it was not in an outdoor venue with a short amount of time to play. Simply put, they delivered one of the most energetic performances I have ever seen and exceeded the expectations I had.

As the lights went down, after The Thermals delivered a fantastic opening, I could feel the energy radiating from the crowd. The keyboard and drums were set up on a small raised platform on the stage, illuminated by the stage lights. Matt and Kim ascended the stage and took their places, Kim at the drums and Matt at the keys, and dove into “Block After Block”, their newest single off their album Sidewalks. This immediately pumped up the crowd and got everyone jumping, pushing, and singing every word at the top of their lungs.

As they continued their show, they connected with the audience and encouraged everyone to get involved, even the balcony. Instead of just asking everyone to sing along and jump up and down like the typical band, they threw out deflated balloons and told us all to blow them up. I enthusiastically grabbed one of the balloons and began to inflate it. Matt then told us to hold onto them until he said “One, two, one, two, three, four!,” which meant to the crowd that we would be dancing to their song “Yea Yeah.”

As soon as the song started, the balloons went flying around and the crowd was going crazy – the balloons continued to get tossed around throughout the rest of their set and I never saw one touch the ground. Their crowd interaction did not end there, as Kim would look at people in the audience and point or smile at them – I was lucky enough to get about a minute of her eye-contact and it genuinely made the show better. She would also step away from her drums and run out to the crowd and grab the hands of fans and even hand out her drumsticks. Matt would do the same when he could and would reach out to the crowd and encourage them to sing the words instead of him. The entire show was filled with amazing energy from the both of them – the jumping never stopped and the singing continued long after the show within my ears.

They ended their set with their most popular song “Daylight”, and when the crowd commanded them to perform an encore, they did something I had never seen before. Instead of just performing another song, they did a mash-up of all the hooks within all of their songs including: “Daylight,” “Cameras”, “Yea Yeah”, and “Lightspeed”.

Matt and Kim completely blew me away. Instead of being the same band I saw with the same great live performance, they got better. They¬†reminisced on their last time in the Bay Area (at BFD), where Kim did her infamous “booty dance” for the first time, and after announcing this, she recreated it for us. They also reflected back on their first show in Oakland, where they played to a cafe filled with six people, and the show got shut down because they were not the “acoustic” band that the manager had thought.

While being just two people, Matt and Kim deliver one of the most energetic and genuinely fun performances I have ever seen. With the show that I experienced on Saturday night, I know that Matt and Kim love what they do and could tell that they see themselves performing and creating music for a very long time.

Throw Me the Statue at Bottom of the Hill

Found out about this show super last minute. Always good to see Throw Me the Statue coming home, and this time they graced the nicely intimate setting of the Bottom of the Hill, a venue I saw Ratatat play in a few years back. The band continues to evolve, and the sound is coming along quite nicely now. The pieces are all well rehearsed, the band’s chemistry is good and they continue to do interesting live changes, especially when it comes to “Young Sensualists.” The group’s energy on stage is excellent, although in some cases can be a bit over the top. For the most part, Goldman’s back up vocals and instrumentation are excellent, but there are moments where it feels a bit out of hand and in need of a sedative. That aside, Throw Me the Statue continues to grow as a group, and every concert leaves me happy, not just for knowing the band and being happy for their success, but because the music is just plain good. Here’s the setlist…

“Groundswells,” “Take It Or Leave It,” “Boyfriend’s Car,” “Lolita,” “Young Sensualists,” “Written In Heart Signs, Faintly,” Yucatan Gold,” and “About to Walk.”

Find Live Music. Easier.

Most of us like a good live show once in a while. Though I’ve never been fanatical about concert-going or following any one band around the country, I do get surprised every time I go just how intense the experience can be. Whether it be a jazz trio in a smoky lounge, a jam band in a beer can littered park, or a punk show with a leg-breaking mosh pit, each experience has its charms.

Music festivals can be awesome because of the sheer number of bands you can catch in one place! Coachella, for example, which I got into for free twice – once as a rep for Han Vodka and once as part of the Jack Johnson team while I was working for Oniracom – was amazing in that regard. Frustrating though, because you can’t be in like 12 places at once. I guess hanging out while Jack Johnson and G. Love warmed up in their trailer was worth missing a few bands for though…(Yay for backstage passes!)

But ya. Seeing the band(s) you love live and sitting amongst other blubbering wide-eyed fans definitely has its merits. When I saw Pink Martini live a few years ago, I think I cried through basically the whole show. Gotan Project and Thievery Corporation had me dancing at the front like a total psycho*.

These days, though, I rarely take the time to keep track of who’s playing, where, and when. Luckily, there are a host of websites which can do that for you. JamBase is one. They’ve been around since 1998, but I was reminded of them recently, when another MixMatcher and I attended the SF New Tech meetup in San Francisco. JamBase was one of the featured presentations and after seeing them in action, I realized that they can make concert-going for us lazy busy people more feasible. Their comprehensive tour date search engine of over 40,000 bands should be a good start anyway. Other goodies include in-depth reviews, networking with other fans, listings of shows in your area etc. Check em out.

Obviously, they are not the only player in their field. One contender, which I found on TechCrunch, is the new startup Songkick. It helps you find the cheapest concert tickets – definitely a winning idea in my book. You can also track shows and blog posts about your selected entertainers, and there is a recommendation engine, which is “not generated from the user base, like Last.fm, or through careful analysis like Pandora.” Another alternative is LiveNation, which claims to be the “world’s largest live music company”.

Given the seemingly endless number of startups popping up every day, it’s hard to keep track of what’s what. My opinion about startups is generally based on their answer to the question “how will you make my life easier?” as well as secondary concerns like “how pretty is your website?” and “can you keep my attention for more than 30 seconds?” In this regard, JamBase has my vote. For now, anyway.

*My psycho dancing is nothing compared to the thousands of teeny bopper girls I watched morph into screaming hyenas at that one Backstreet Boys concert I got dragged along to years ago…I kept thinking poor chaperoning parents. Yet, oddly enough, many of them seemed just as excited to be there as their 3-13 yr olds. Admittedly, I may have kind of gotten into it too. Just a little.