Matt & Kim: Ruckus Bringers, Live at First Avenue

Photo by Ben Allen

Last updated on October 23rd, 2023 at 12:31 pm

Matt & Kim brought the ruckus to all the mothers…and others in attendance at First Ave last night. The duo’s high-octane performance featured a lot of fun and debauchery.

Minnesota crowds aren’t always down with a lot of crowd participation. It always feels like there’s resistance to physical expression, and it can take a bit of work by performers to get the crowd to break free from that.

To their credit, Matt & Kim both clawed through that shell like a kid ripping through the packaging to get to their Barbie on Christmas morning. It took a little bit of doing, but they got there pretty quickly.

Photo by Ben Allen

Kim’s take-no-prisoners style of drumming certainly helped. If it was a shell holding everybody back, Kim shattered it with one of her floor tom hits. I don’t know what that poor thing did in its past life to deserve this, but I’m guessing it was a fascist dictator based on the beating it received.

I wondered ahead of time what effect their extended break would have on their live show. They always play with such incredible energy, as both halves of the duo are very physical performers. But Kim tore her ACL…twice, and they’d been out of the game for an entire Olympic cycle. On top of that, they disclosed that on this tour they’d committed to the longest sets of their careers. That’s a bold move for a tour with so many questions.

Photo by Ben Allen

So, what effect did their pause have on their game? Not a discernible one. Minneapolis was the 24th stop on their tour, and it could just as well have been the first. Early in the show, they admitted we were in contention with Kansas City for this tour stop. At the mention of KC, the crowd booed vehemently (it’s a thing), informing Matt & Kim that they made the correct choice.

Matt took it one step further, later saying he was glad they came to Minneapolis over Kansas City and everybody celebrated a little harder. Later still, with his face taking up most of the crowd screen they had across the back of the stage, yelling, “FUCK KANSAS CITY!” As I’m sure you can guess, the crowd did indeed go wild. They can have their Superbowl-winning football team. We’ll take Matt & Kim.

Photo by Ben Allen

Here’s a sentence I never expected to write: Kim hit herself in the eye while drumming with…let’s just say, a prosthetic version of male genitalia. At one point, during a breakdown, she whipped out two of these 18″ pink and purple “drumsticks” and began beating her drums with them. She put forth a lot of effort to keep on beat, but that was interrupted a smidge when she clocked herself while raising one above her shoulders.

Did it slow her down? Only for a beat, then she was back on time. They had to take a little break after the song so she could get through a giggle fit enough to breathe and disclose what happened.

Photo by Ben Allen

Throughout the show, they awarded audience members with a medal when they did something extraordinary or even just weird. After the previously described incident, Matt decided that Kim had earned a medal and hung one of them around her neck. If she hadn’t earned one then, she probably would have later in the show when she crowd-surfed to the bar at the back of the room to get herself a beer.

Photo by Ben Allen

After they announced, and then played their last song, they asked if they could play one more, and, of course, everybody cheered. The duo left the stage and walked out into the middle of the crowd and sang “Happy If You’re Happy” to each other acapella.

I understand why they left “Let’s Go!” until the end. It’s great going out on a high note, but when you’re playing a Wednesday night show in Minneapolis, it feels a lot like, “Let’s Go (Home)!”

I’m just kidding. I don’t care. It was great. 10/10, would see Matt & Kim again.

Photo by Ben Allen

Written by Ben Allen

I tell the story of the energy transfer between people who play music and that music's listeners. I photograph and write about festivals and concerts, which I've attended for three decades. I'm also the tall guy you probably got stuck behind at a show. First concert: Nirvana at Roy Wilkins Auditorium, Dec 1993. Yes, I am old. Tall and old.


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