Photos by Alex Begley
Not many bands play at ground level, and fewer still invite audience members to sit in on drums. These were just a few of the many unexpected actions taken at Thursday’s Matt and Kim/Death Set/Team Robespierre at Walter’s. During the Death Set’s time on stage (or floor), lead screecher Johnny Siera let fans sip his drink, turned the mic towards the crowd so that one persistent reveler could sing along, and ended the set by tossing his guitar into a ceiling fan.
Later, Matt and Kim brought everyone onstage during “Yeah, Yeah,” and then later incited a food fight among some patrons who brought their own personal pan pizza. Afterward, Matt spent the rest of the night wiping sauce off of his keyboard, resulting in some crazy experimental music.
Thursday, Team Robespierre consisted of four of the squad’s 27 members, touring across the country in an old school bus that runs on vegetable oil on the “F-Yeah” tour. Brooklyn lo-fi outlet Team Robespierre started the night with a small crowd, and after maybe five songs, had that entire crowd amidst their instruments, even allowing some to play them.
“It’s nice to be working toward a common goal,” said Siera of the green-friendly van (green meaning both eco- and money-). “But sometimes it sucks because you play a show and then have to go find vegetable oil.”
The Death Set stormed through their repertoire with such fury that sometimes they knocked out the iPod that was supplying the beats. Glitches aside, they brought the entire crowd into their performance with open arms. Though Siera cited opening for Suicide and meeting Keith Morris of the Circle Jerks in Toronto as a few of the tour’s highlights he’s psyched to get to the West Coast and eventually Japan (the school bus won’t be going).
With the Set’s new album, Worldwide, reaching a massive audience through its availability on iTunes and with a two-page photo spread in Spin magazine, the Death Set aren’t quite unknowns anymore, but they’re not exactly looking to make the kind of splash that fellow Baltimore-based electronic whiz kid Dan Deacon did.
“I hate playing big shows,” Siera said, though he was careful not to knock Deacon… who is also on the bus.
Matt and Kim set off a cute bomb that sent shock waves rippling a radius that could have stretched to Memorial Park. Think a cuter, happier, more talented version of the White Stripes with some dance-punk thrown in. And they killed.
According to Matt, the inspiration for their “Yeah Yeah” video (which involves food being thrown at the duo) came from a food fight at a previous Houston show, and there was plenty of food thrown Thursday as well. Even if you hate dancing, the duo’s beats were so infectious and their energy so astounding that you couldn’t stop yourself. Matt and Kim closed out the night with the uplifting, staccato-heavy “Silver Tiles,” and it was perfect. – Alex Begley