The Matches - Live At The House Of Blues DVD (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

The Matches

Live At The House Of Blues 📀 (2004)

Kung Fu

Over the past thirteen installments in the Show Must Go Off series Kung Fu has focused on bands that have already made it. Groups like the Vandals, Goldfinger, Adolescents, Guttermouth and Reel Big Fish are household names, all of whom have extensive discographies. The Matches however, wait, the who? The Matches -- Epitaph's latest grab from sunny California! You may recall Brian and I admiring their self-released debut or the Epitaph re-issue of E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals. For those who don't recall and the others who are too lazy to click away, Matches play pop-punk weighing heavily on irresistible vocal harmonies to stand out above the rest of the bunch.

Since the band is relatively new there's not much material for them to cover. A 40-minute set is made up from cuts that made E. Von Dahl Killed the Locals, a splendid summer record, and their lone holiday song "December is for Cynics." I've had the pleasure of seeing the Matches perform twice on the Warped Tour this year and coupled with this performance I'm shocked at how musically tight they are. "Dog Eared Page," "Audio Blood," "Borderline Creep," and the rest of the eleven song set list are transferred practically flawlessly from the album. Even the tiniest parts of songs are included into the upbeat show (see: the answering machine on "Chain Me Free" or the bebop intro to "Eryn Smith"). Quirky stage presence provides a visual appeal, vocalist Shawn has poise reminiscent of Billie Joe of Green Day and the afro-bearing guitarist, Jon Devoto's antics matched by his Super Mario Bros. guitar interlude are a few behaviors that don't strand them like cardboard cutouts in front of the House of Blues crowd.

While the extras don't exactly make up for the brevity of the DVD, it's still worth checking out. There's some behind the scenes footage with acoustic parking lot performances and the band having a blast being themselves. The commentary is a valuable section of the disc, as the young gentlemen provide enough spunk to get you through. This specific show was filmed as the band opened for Zebrahead while their DVD was captured. As opposed to that one, the quality spanning across the eight camera angles here is magnificent, some of the best work in the catalog.

The Matches are akin to the Goldfinger, Blink 182 and/or MxPx for the new era of punk. There is plenty of potential packed into their young souls that will one day project them up to a higher level. Jump on the bandwagon now; don't be a second late as this DVD is fun enough to remind you of your adolescent years bouncing at shows and appealing enough for the kids who will one day have their walls decorated in tons of posters from the Matches.