Live Review

Matt & Kim, House Of Blues, New Orleans

This show is insane; loud and fast and visceral.

The South has its very own style of rap, appropriately called Southern Rap or Bounce. Even as someone not attuned to the intricacies or complexities of the genre, Bounce sounds different. According to Wikipedia it is because it’s based on a call and response structure reminiscent of Mardi Gras Indian chants, and that it’s also characterized by hyper sexualized dance call outs. Though a rather clinical description, it’s quite appropriate. It is extraordinarily hyper sexualized and has fascinating rhythmic structure. Tonight’s show at The House Of Blues is one that appears to make no sense, however. Matt & Kim headline, with Big Freedia opening: this could only take place in New Orleans.

Big Freedia is a purveyor of a genre inside Bounce called Sissy Bounce. It is overtly Queer, and performed almost exclusively by Drag Queens. When she comes out to perform - joined by a DJ and two, for lack of a better title, booty dancers - the stage is taken by force. As the set progresses, Kim stands at the side, bouncing to the beat and grinning like a crazy person. It quickly becomes obvious that this is a pairing of a more personal nature: Matt & Kim love Big Freedia, her energy, her power and her ability to shock in the best way. Indeed, it’s a powerful sight; she takes power and control in what can often be a misogynistic and homophobic genre. To say that her performance is compelling would be a severe understatement. The audience are mesmerized by her voice, her words, and whipped up to boiling point.

And this is where Matt & Kim take over, coming on stage to deafening screams. The entire venue is shaking from the floor to the rafters. As is their way, they’re super excited to be onstage. This show however has something a little different about it. From the get go, Matt yells out ‘Some people say it’s only Tuesday night, but I say, Goddamn! It’s Tuesday!”

And goddamn it is Tuesday. This show is insane; loud and fast and visceral. Thongs are thrown on to Kim’s drum set, but only after she declares it to be a wild night: ‘I’m not talking any pussy shit, I’m talking rub your vagina on the floor shit,’ she yells out, very much in the spirit of Big Freedia. ‘Body of a 15 year old boy, mouth of a 60 year old sailor. Kim Schifino ladies and gentlemen!’, Matt responds. In addition to the surprising amount of undergarments thrown about, Matt & Kim let loose balloons into the audience for everyone to play with. There’s the requisite standing on drum kits and piano stools, the thanking the city for coming out, always genuine. But this time, Matt lets loose that he had been having a crappy day and this show was just the cure.

The evening ends on a perfect note. As an introduction, Matt talks about how people have come up to him to tell him how this song has helped them through crappy times. So he dedicates ‘Daylight’ to anyone who’s been having a bad day, bad week or godforbid, bad year. This song, so full of hope and bursting with possibility, is exactly the right way to end such a wild and wondrous show. Matt & Kim run into the audience as they always do, and after, the crowd files out to ‘Empire State Of Mind’ making every single person there nostalgic for New York City; whether they have been there or not. This show was a two-hour ode to two very different cities. New Orleans and New York appear to have very little in common, but they do capture the imagination and the soul, and this is exactly what Matt & Kim were honoring.

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