Brad Oberhofer showed nothing but entertainment all night. Perfect form I'd say. Photo: Jake Vivori
A long line of high-school-aged Provo-ans wrapped around In The Venue and up 200 South when I arrived. "We're standing on the balcony, and we're getting a beer," I immediately said to my sister, Carla. Making it inside moments before the sole opening band, Oberhofer, walked onstage, Carla and I ordered some local suds and made our way to the sparsely populated 21+ balcony overlooking GA. My initial observation was spot-on––the venue was slowly filling in, but most of the density was down below, demographed by a young, fresh-faced crowd.
I had listened to Brooklyn-born Oberhofer's latest album, Time Capsules II, earlier in the day, and though it didn't blow my mind, I'd been promised a good show and was looking forward to fulfillment. The group of boys who walked out were probably the same age as the people staring back at them, and would have fit in perfectly in Utah County. Frontman Brad Oberhofer (just because you have a singsongy last name doesn't mean it would make for a good band name––especially if you have to spell it out for your audience) was wearing your typical, Brooklyn-hipster ensemble, with skinny jeans and oversized, pointy boots. If he had a sword hanging from his belt, he could've passed as a 1700s courtier. I was in flannel and oversized eyewear, though, so who am I to judge? Oberhofer's music is also in line with the Brooklyn stereotype: indie pop with some surf rock-sounding-guitar. It was fun, danceable music that fit well with the headliners, and the xylophone added some playful elements to their sound that I enjoyed, and so did the crowd. It actually seemed like a handful of the audience was already familiar with these guys, something I always like to see, and I'm sure the band is also relieved to hear. The energy from the crowd seemed to amp the musicians, and Brad spazzed around onstage, stomping his feet and, at one point, disappearing. I turned around to find him and his guitar up on the balcony with us, playing a few notes, then running back down and sliding down the banister. This guy is definitely a rock star in the making. There's no doubt Oberhofer are a talented group, but their music is a little lackluster. They had some really great fast, noisy bits––there were three guitars onstage, so it got pretty loud––that I'd like to see more of, because their riffs were juicy enough to make them memorable—they're just getting buried by the bland indie pop.
At this point in the night, Carla and I had been joined on the balcony by a good-sized crowd. I have to admit that I'm not a die-hard Matt and Kim fan. The music's simple and fun, but their albums don't suck me in like my favorites. I was here because their music videos led me to believe they'd put on a good show. I needed some cheap thrills. Little did I know that I'd end up so blown away, you won't ever hear me naysay Matt and Kim ever again. The duo came onstage after a lengthy stage setup in a burst of energy that included digital fireworks on a giant screen behind them. From that moment, the party didn't stop until the lights came on at the end of the night. Matt and Kim both started dancing and jumping up on their respective stools. These guys are the couple at the party that crushes everyone else––they're the most charismatic, the most likable, the most fun. Matt had a small camera attached to his mic so we could see his huge grin as he sang and played keys. Kim's smile didn't need a camera––her eyes were wide and excited, and she looked like she was having the time of her life—and I think she was. They just seemed so genuine and cool––like they're living the dream, and they're not going to take any second of it for granted. And they know whom to thank for it, too. In between their upbeat songs, both of them would take turns telling the audience how fucking grateful they were, and how the crowd was doing such a great job pumping them up. They're like perky workout leaders, motivating everyone to party harder. At one point, after shooting rounds of confetti into the crowd, Kim passed out handfuls of balloons and told the crowd to blow them up and hold on to them for the next song. Though I was really lamenting the fact I chose to be a "grown up" and hang out upstairs around this time, it was amazing to see all of the balloons go up in the air simultaneously from the balcony. Music-wise, the simplicity of Matt and Kim's music was a good thing. The lyrics are easy to sing along to, and Matt's whiny vocals aren't so lofty that they're intimidating. Kim's drumming is energetic and fun, but she maintains a really basic setup that doesn't distract from all of their stage antics and allows her to jump up and down on her bass drum whenever she gets an itch. The Matt's keys complement the drums in a way that's much like their act: synthetic sounds as a background to genuine fun. They're on tour in support of their latest album, Lightning, but they also played some oldies, and the crowd favorite (because we've all heard it a million times), "Daylight." I think my favorite part, though, were the samples they played in between songs. From '90s dance hits like Alice DeeJay's "Do You Think You're Better Off Alone," which they got us all screaming along to, to booty shakin' hip hop anthems, which were used to show off Kim's hilarious dance moves. The highlight of the night came when Kim walked into the crowd, on their hands, planted in the middle and started shaking her ass.
Matt and Kim sealed the deal for me when Kim announced that, on this tour, they had teamed up with a local animal shelter in each city to help promote pet adoptions. The Utah Animal Shelter had a table set up, and Kim urged everyone to adopt when choosing a pet, and to post our photos of adopted animals on their Facebook page. I will definitely be at the next Matt and Kim show, which is happening sooner than later! They're opening for Passion Pit at The Complex on March 2 next year, so don't miss out on the party. I definitely won't be the balcony dud at that show. Make sure you check out Oberhofer as well. They have potential––maybe they'll up the fuzz and let go of the generic indie rock for their next release.
Make sure you check out more awesome photos from the night by Jake Vivori here.