Thursday, November 8, 2012 at 9:30 a.m.
Matt and Kim
First Ave., Minneapolis
Wednesday, November 7, 2012
Matt and Kim is a simple name and simple setup, with just Matt Johnson on keys and vocals and Kim Schifino on drums, but the duo's show is anything but simple. With an elaborate back screen, flashing lights, balloons, and confetti, a Matt and Kim show is the perfect place for a kid with ADD to hang out on a Wednesday night. With a full floor at First Ave., the Brooklyn duo came out dancing to the stage with more energy than 20 Red Bulls could ever provide.
Kim Schifino has a penchant for standing on her bass drum and did so quite often, and each time urging the crowd into a jumping frenzy with her larger-than-life smile. Honestly, that girl has the whitest teeth that can be seen at the back of the room. Proving that Minneapolis can move, the two shared songs from the new album Lightning mixed into older favorites. Much of the songs have the standard verse/chorus structure with much of the chorus being very repetitive in nature, evidenced in "It's Alright," a fun piece that was written for the dance floor.
If Kim like to stand on her drums, Matt certainly likes to move also, playing to the crowd and fascinating when he jumps the two and half feet to stand on his piano stool. When he introduced Kim to the audience, she grabbed her mic and warned the crowd, "I see a lot of young kids in the crowd tonight. Parents, I just want to warn you, every time you see me grab my mic, you're going to need to earmuff your kids, cause they're going to learn a lot of new shit." That they did. Despite the all ages show, the band never once censored themselves, often adding in dirty jokes and colorful language, but the crowd, which was comprised mainly of teenagers on the cusp of growing into adulthood, was begging for more.
Outside of their own pieces, Matt and Kim like to throw in covers and intros that integrate pop and rap songs that draw in the casual fan that may be there for a friend. The band again and again asked the crowd for favors, a lot of times to ask them to sing along loud enough for Omaha, where they were last night, to hear or to blow up balloons that they threw into the crowd for the party vibe. As the two got into the festive "Tonight," someone tried to hand Kim a condom, to which she claimed she didn't need one.
Humanitarians before musicians, Kim urged the audience to stop by the merch table and look into adopting an animal from a local shelter that they had contacted especially for the show before breaking into their next song. Slowing the show down for a bit, Matt was left to play "Turn This Boat Around" by himself, while Kim roamed the stage breaking balloons between her thighs of steel.
Matt is a natural storyteller and shared a story of their time in Toronto when during their show, the venue was hit by lightning, fitting for the new album title. As tradition for each show, Kim made her way out into the crowd, "hard and up the center" as Matt put it, to dance on the crowd's hands. Johnson often threw goodies out to the crowd like confetti sticks and tshirts, of which he shared, "A woman got taken away in a police car last night, cause she bit someone fighting for a T-shirt." Kim joined in the banter with, "When I was out in the crowd, someone got real excited, cause it smells like fart right around that area -- and it wasn't me."
With that kind of fun-loving nature that the band embodies, it's no wonder that kids love them and want to be them. Leading into their one song encore, the band said that their show at First Ave. has been the biggest exponential increase of people at a headlining show. Before their last song, Matt asked the crowd for one last favor, to out their hands in the air for "Good For Great," a song title that reflects the arc of the band's musical career.
Critic's bias: I attended the Blink-182 show in St. Paul last year but was not able to catch Matt and Kim's set. I was pleasantly surprised by the energy of the band, although did notice the mistakes Matt made at the keyboards, something that may be covered up in a full band.
The crowd: Teenage hipsters, parents, and young kids. I spotted two boys that may have been as young as seven.
Overheard in the crowd: About Matt's story of the woman getting taken away for biting someone: "Zombies."
Random notebook dump: The band had an affinity to say "Minneapolis" after everything they said. I often question the sincerity of musicians when they say a city's name too often, as if saying it will validate the band's love for the town.