It was the afternoon of the second day of the Mo Pop Festival, and I had succeeded in aggressively pushing my way to the front row. Friends in tow and the hot sun beating down on the unforgiving July day, I wrapped sweaty hands around the fence barrier that separated the crowd from the stage and waited for the band I had been ready for ever since I heard they were performing at Mo Pop: Matt and Kim.
We all were physically drained, with strange bruises in even stranger places. All I wanted to do was find a semi-quiet corner and close my eyes for 20 minutes (or 20 years). What we all needed then was the music festival equivalent of an espresso shot — a set that would inject excitement straight into our bones like fizzy champagne. What we all needed then was a reminder of why we suffered all day under the scorching sun, of how all-encompassing and life-changing music festivals could be. Matt and Kim did not disappoint.
From the moment they leapt onto the stage, Matt and Kim made every note burst into a kinetic energy. Flawlessly, fearlessly and effortlessly, they grabbed our attention with their explosiveness. With wild smiles and wilder dance moves, Matt and Kim made a promise to us: no matter what happened, they wouldn’t fail to deliver us a chaotic, crazy, impossibly amazing performance.
And they committed to putting on the best show no matter what problems occurred, like the sound cutting out a quarter of the way through their set. Instead of leaving early or postponing, Matt and Kim did what they did best: put on some delightfully artificial, booty-poppin’ jams, climbed out from the stage into the crowd and twerked on some hands. Even though we didn’t hear a majority of their songs because of the technical difficulties (thanks, Mo Pop!), I still feel like I got to experience the best part of seeing Matt and Kim live.
It’s a quality that transcends the actual songs they perform and manifests itself in the way they naturally pass energy between themselves and the audience. Infusing every moment with boundless enthusiasm, Matt and Kim have an infectious personability that made me, standing on the dirty grass littered with empty bottles and forgotten cigarettes, feel connected to them and to the raving crowd around me and to the music that trembled in the air around us like a live wire.
Plus I got to touch Kim’s calf as she crowd-surfed above me so it was pretty much the best moment of my life.
Performances like Matt and Kim’s at Mo Pop are the reason I love music festivals so much. Surrounded by hundreds of random strangers, I have become part of a mass of disjointed waving arms and whirling bodies, but instead of feeling claustrophobic, I’m united and in-tune with the boundless vitality that emits from the crowd like a wave.
It’s a beautiful moment: looking around at a concert and seeing the absolute joy on the faces of other people as they scream the lyrics they finally get to see live. Music has a particular skill in creating art out of a series of notes and rhythms, and a good concert is one which takes that masterpiece and brings it to life. Songs become tangible in the sense that you can feel the beat in your bones and the notes as they brush over your skin.
And on that July afternoon, watching Matt and Kim pour everything they had out on stage, I felt like I could reach over and hold melodies in the palm of my hand as they bounced from the stage to the crowd, lighting up the sunrise with a vigor that made me forget my sore feet, badly burnt shoulders and aching legs. In that moment, with the swell of the music overpowering all senses, I felt part of something larger, like there was a pull to lose myself in both the crowd and the music. It was community in its most basic form: a group of people gathering together for the simple reason of experiencing the music that we all loved.