It’s been nearly six months since I uprooted and left everything I knew and loved in Cleveland. Landing in Dallas at the onset of summer, I find myself craving the adventure of exploring my new city. So when I found out about the opportunity to review one of my favorite bands ever—Matt and Kim—in downtown Dallas last Sunday night (6.12.11), I knew I had to take it. Little did I know what I was getting into, or what this night would end up meaning to me, my new home and the city I left.
With my new hometown’s basketball team playing in this year’s NBA Finals, looking to upset the most hated man in my former hometown, LeBron James and the rest of the Miami Heat, I failed to find a non-Mavericks fans to accompany me to the sold-out show at the House of Blues. I resigned to venture out solo into the evening heat (90 degrees at 7:00pm!) and walk from new loft across from the American Airlines Center to Dallas’ West End.
Competing with a room full of Mavs fans watching the end of the first half, opening act The Thermals showed up to rock out. Fronted by lead guitarist Hutch Harris, new girl crush Kathy Foster on bass, and rounded out with Westin Glass on drums, the indie punk band ripped through a 40-minute set that included songs from their latest album, ‘Personal Life,’ including “I Don’t Believe You” and “Not Like Any Other Feeling.” Having never really taken much interest in the Portland rock scene, The Thermals converted me into a fan with a high-energy performance that never let up. Rarely pausing to talk to the audience, it was clear that The Thermals were there to kick ass.
“Yeah Mavericks! What a crazy night to be in Dallas,” the band tweeted later.
The Thermals finished their set, and I found myself making new friends at the side bar of the Foundation Room. The handsome bartender asked me why I was alone, and I explained that I was new to the city – from Cleveland. Those magic words drew the attention of a group of nearby fraternity-types who offered round after round “on behalf of LeBron James.” This night was about to get insane!
The Mavericks did not disappoint, providing the perfect lead-in for headliners Matt and Kim (delaying their performance until the game’s end). Coming out to a victory chant of “We Are The Champions,” my ONE complaint is that DJ Autobot chose to spin “Empire State of Mind” as the duo took the stage. I understand Matt and Kim are from Brooklyn, but Sunday night was about Dallas.
Anyone who has seen Matt and Kim knows that these two bring the party. Kim is a spitfire, sprinting back and forth across the stage and jumping up on to her drum kit to encourage the crowd to get crazy. At one point, she had the entire male population of the audience whip their shirts off in celebration before waving them above their heads. (Note: I was in heaven.) Breaking occasionally to sing brief interludes of old school hip hop standards by Biz Markie and Salt n Pepa, the band kept the ecstatic crowd singing along with them all night.
“If you don’t know the words, just keep singing ‘da da!’” Kim shouted before starting into the joyous “Lessons Learned.” Of course, the near-perfect set—full of the infectious beats and piano melodies fans love—all led up to the anthem “Daylight.”
Maybe it was the four (or five?) gin and tonics, maybe it was the sea of partying fans spilling into the streets, but I felt like I was floating the whole walk home. “Joel,” I texted my editor as I approached my apartment. “Can I just make my review a string of expletives?” I’m judging by his (lack of a) response he was not amused.
Editor’s Note: I was very amused by Carly’s text. I just didn’t pick it up until morning.
Photos © Vanessa Aron/CleveRock.com (from Matt And Kim @ Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland – 9.16.10)
About the Author:
Carly Rowe loves music, tweeting and Dallas- but she’ll always be true to Cleveland. Always.