Mount Kimbie @ Corner Hotel

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Mount Kimbie @ Corner Hotel


No sold out show ever feels as sold out as one at the Corner, and when it’s in the middle of a heatwave you definitely feel the stifling push of the crowd as the headliner takes the stage. Touring as part of the Laneway Festival and in support of their successful second LP Cold Spring Fault Less Youth, Mount Kimbie packed out the Corner, showing they’ve come a long way in terms of mass appeal since their debut EP of 2009. Their sound, too, has travelled far from their dubstep-influenced, sample-heavy Crooks and Lovers onto their current mood which favours live instrumentation and vocals.

And it is this diversity that is the defining element – and perhaps the downfall – of their live show. Live jams such as So Many Times So Many Ways, with its bass hook and swinging drum beat, allowed the crowd to get into a recognisable groove that, alas, tapered off without much development. The sampled plucks and twangs of Before I Move Off created the first hands-in-the-air moment for many punters, but the sharp, cut-up vocals that define the song – and indeed much of Mount Kimbie’s early sound – were barely present and muffled in reverb.

When the live grooves locked, they locked well, but as an electronic act presumably more used to pushing faders and pressing keys, they are not as dynamic as more focused instrumental groups. In a recent interview with Beat Dom Maker said the group would like to perform with Archy Marshall (aka King Krule, who provided vocals for two tracks on Cold Spring Fault Less Youth) as much as possible. Given Marshall’s considerable talent, this would be obvious avenue to pursue, but you also get the impression that with mixes to keep an eye on and various instruments to be played and prodded, Mount Kimbie’s vocals in a live setting must take a back seat – a pity, considering their effectiveness on the record.

The idea of what you want from a live show these days is not as straightforward as it was a decade or two ago, so perhaps such performance gripes are beside the point. Mount Kimbie’s sound is solid and unique. They’ve managed to shape some fairly experimental music into something that makes sense beyond  the chin-stroking set, and by the time they abandon the guitars and the drummer for the encore – throwing material from their first early EPs into a thumping set of dancier tracks – I’m left thinking that it’s not the pretense of performance that counts as much as the tunes themselves.


Loved: The encore

Hated:  Stupid Melbourne heat.

Drank: The vaporised sweat of my fellow patrons in the steamy Corner bandroom.