The first time I saw Mount Kimbie play live was shortly after the release of their first album. Their performance was a brash and impressive display of live electronic music when that wasn't quite the norm yet. Some seams showed, however—they seemed meek and nervous and their headlining set only lasted 35 minutes. I was interested to see how their second US tour would go: they still have a very small catalogue of material, but this time they had a new album waiting in the wings, not to mention another year's worth of touring experience under their belts.
Immediately from the start of the set they sounded confident, with a more muscular backend to their songs. I wasn't standing by with a stopwatch, but it felt like they took longer with each song, jamming on the little nuggets of pop they hide in each one, transforming their microscopic beats into bigger live beasts. Highlights included a particularly beefy "Maybes," where the thundering yet reassuring opening chords loomed over the venue. The shaky, yet impassioned live vocals were still there, but amidst the triumphant fanfare of the rest of the song they were a bit easier to swallow. "Field" began inauspiciously before busting wide open into its fist-pumping 4/4 outro, which the duo riffed on with surprising groove.
"House" was the key word for the UK duo's much-anticipated new material. It was every bit as pillowy, textured and melodic as their older work, but underlined with a pulse where Crooks & Lovers sometimes felt it was slipping and sliding. The newer songs sounded floor-friendly, reflecting that the much-hyped duo have turned into a live band almost as worthy as their records. Before it merely felt like they were struggling to recreate their records on stage, but now they have them firmly in their hands, the rare example of electronic music truly coming alive in a live setting.