NXNE Concert Review: Matt & Kim, Whippersnapper Gallery & Wrongbar, June 19th

Posted on by Mark in Concerts, Everything, North By Northeast | 2 Comments

Matt & Kim

Toronto – The Whippersnapper Gallery is not a big place, and it was packed last Friday night with a small horde of sweat-drenched hipsters salivating to check out Brooklyn-based Matt & Kim. After what seemed like an eterntity of setup time due to the small broiling confines of the gallery, M & K were finally ready to bring it.

Matt & Kim’s energy-fueled feelgood dancepop is absolutely infectious.

This was my first time seeing Matt & Kim live, and I have to say that it was really really fun. I would describe their live sound as “clean and vibrant”. They play indie dance tunes that are ridiculously catchy and fun. Matt plays the synth and sings. Kim rocks out on the drums. It’s a very simple setup and it works ridiculously well. This minimalist approach makes it easy to folllow what’s going on. Make no mistake though, Matt & Kim’s pared down sound doesn’t mean you lose any energy with this equation. They can rock out like nobody’s business.

This is the first time I’ve ever seen the same band play twice in one night at two different venues. It was worth it.

One of the things that struck me is how much sheer fun they seem to be having playing music. Ricky mentioned this in his review of their SXSW appearance. Matt & Kim’s energy-fueled feelgood dancepop is absolutely infectious. They take you to a very happy place and keep you there for the entirety of their set.

This is a pretty accurate depiction of what their 2nd set felt like.

Matt & Kim (Wrongbar) - This is kind of how it felt!

We had so much fun seeing them at the Gallery that when 1 am approached we realized that we could go to Wrongbar and see them again. This is the first time I’ve ever seen the same band play twice in one night at two different venues. It was worth it.  This set, although similar to the first, was a notch up from their earlier performance. The venue was a little larger; Matt & Kim had more room to spread their legs. And at this point everyone had been partying all night and were ready to rock. Crowd-surfing began immediately and lasted the entire set. It was a ridiculous fun energy ride.

1 – Whippersnapper:

2 – Wronbgar:

NXNE Concert Review: Spiral Beach, Whippersnapper Gallery, June 19th

Posted on by Mark in Concerts, North By Northeast | Leave a comment

Spiral Beach

Toronto – Last Friday night found us at the Whippersnapper Gallery in the heart of Little Italy. It hadn’t occured to me that Taste of Little Italy was happening during NXNE, so College street was extra-packed. Opening the night at the Whippersnapper was Spiral Beach, a Toronto-based foursome that plays a collection of rock-pop songs.

The best part of this show was the enthusiasm that this young band brought to the table. They really enjoyed themselves up there and really got into it, and that energy was felt by the audience. They played loud and they played proud. Their brand of pop-rock does harken back to the B-52’s.

Their rock does have a gritty weirdness to it; the NXNE write-up defines their songs as “oddball pop songs” and I would agree. I saw elements of this that worked both for and against the band at different times in the set. Sometimes the long introspective weird avant-guarde shouted lyrics were really, uh, avant-guarde. On the other hand, there were a few moments where they transitioned very artfully between parts of the song where you don’t dance very hard to the part of the song where you dance very hard. That was done very well and got people dancing very hard.

NXNE Concert Review: Elephant Stone, Supermarket, June 18

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, Everything, North By Northeast | 1 Comment

Toronto – I went to see Elephant Stone based on the fact that Vik liked them and also because they were named after a Stone Roses tune. The band consists of Rishi Dhir (of the High Dials) and some guys that may or may not be from the Besnard Lakes. Considering their nomination for the Polaris Prize, there might have been all of 50 people in a crowd, which is a shame since they put on a great show. Coming across as a mix between Cornershop and Kula Shakur (according to Patricia), the band played an impressive 45 minute set of what I think sounded like britpop, with eastern influences. This is good drug taking music, I think. There was even a sitar! Anytime you have something like a sitar at a show, it takes it up a notch. The band was also super chilled which suited nicely with the music vibe. I highly recommend you checking them out.

NXNE Concert Review: Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head, El Mocambo, June 18th

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts, North By Northeast | Leave a comment

Toronto – One of the more hyped bands to play at NXNE this year, Washington’s Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head rocked the semi packed El Mocambo last night with their take on happy synth pop party music. Having seen Natalie Portman’s Shaved Head a few months back at SXSW, I pretty got what I expected from these synth pop rockers – a really fun show. Say what you want, but after the preening done by Pirate Love, it was nice to see a band that genuinely seemed appreciative of the crowd and enthusiastic to be on stage. One of the greatest things about festivals is that each band really only has 40 minutes to win a crowd over. I would say they have 20 minutes to win the crowd over because if you suck during those first twenty minutes, people will move elsewhere. By the end of the show, NPSH had everyone in the front dancing, arms in the air and having a good time. That is a sign of a good show.

OH yea, about their music..NPSH is just hook filled synth party music. The band comprises of art school hipsters and sing and pseudo rap about topics like facial hair and other things. They dress up in bright colors, sweat bands and basically look like all the 90s fashion mistakes that happened. Kind of reminds me of Saved By The Bell. I don’t know why.

here’s a video