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Sunday, June 6, 2010

Last Night: Matt & Kim, The Golden Filter, and The Soft Pack

Posted By on Sun, Jun 6, 2010 at 11:56 AM

  • Christopher Victorio

Matt & Kim, The Golden Filter, and The Soft Pack

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Better than: Spending the same amount of time staring at the blogs that made these bands popular.

With a belly full of daytime-drinking beer and not a soul to accompany me, I made my way to Mezzanine to spend my night with a couple of the blog world's favorite offspring: Matt & Kim and The Golden Filter. San Diego garage-rock band The Soft Pack also played that night, but were long off stage by the time I arrived at the venue. Instead, DJ Aaron Axelsen was on deck slanging electro bangers I'd hoped to never hear after 2007. It immediately set my expectations low and the likelihood of a headache high.

The Golden Filter was the first band I saw take the stage. With the addition of a live drummer, the New York disco-pop outfit had grown in ranks since I'd last seen them, but the tunes remained the same. Arpeggiated bass-synth melodies and standard boom-chk-boom-chk beats reigned through the band's live performance. They opened with "Favorite Things," a song not featured on their debut full-length, Voluspa, but also played fan favorites "Solid Gold," "Hide Me," and album opener "Dance Around the Fire."

Single-named singer Penelope towered over her microphone with long blonde hair obscuring her face and some sort of leotard-type outfit layered under her sheer dress, if you could call it that. While bandmate Steven and the live drummer handled all synth and rhythm duties, she managed the stage show with lots of erratic flailing about and tambourine playing--all handled with a surprising amount of grace and showmanship. Penelope was always the center of attention. And even though the crowd seemed to be new to the band's music, and stood relatively in place, The Golden Filter played with the full force and precision that make its catchy songs appealing to the dancefloor.

  • Christopher Victorio

After another DJ set of unnecessarily loud and hyperactive music from Axelsen, Matt & Kim appeared on stage. To be blunt, this band has never been my cup of tea. To be painfully honest, I do not like them at all. They bring to mind that one annoyingly upbeat girl we all knew in high school that was "just so happy to be here!," but multiplied by two and with loud instruments. My patience was minimal, but the crowd, however, was ecstatic.

As soon as Matt approached the mic with his high-register voice, shouts and cheers erupted from the audience. Though some of the party-goers had left after The Golden Filter, a strong presence remained to dance and sing along with the Brooklyn-based duo. It was a performance for those born without--or who had completely lost--any inhibitions. Marriage proposals were hollered from the audience, claims of San Francisco being the "craziest crowd in the world" came from the stage, and all of the young folks that traveled to the venue from in and around San Francisco enjoyed an ecstatic time with one of their favorite bands to blow up on the internet.

  • Christopher Victorio

Critic's Notebook

Personal Bias: When I first heard The Golden Filter, I was an immediate fan of the group's precise style of disco-pop. But in the time it took for them to release a full-length record, something was lost. Maybe it was because they ended up relying on the same ideas for nearly every song they wrote, but listening to a full set from the band live proved to be an uninteresting task. Then there was the headliner. If Matt & Kim is anything, it's a band high on adrenaline and helium, simultaneously. I could only take so much squeaky-voiced "super-happy-fun-time" music before wanting to gouge my eyes and ears out. If every annoying children's show coalesced into two people and formed a band, it would be Matt & Kim. And that's a fucking horrible idea.

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