According to Matt & Kim, Wednesday is the new Friday. Or at least that’s what lead singer Matt Johnson was telling the crowd at Webster Hall last night; and he did a pretty damn good job convincing them too. The duo describe their sound as party music, and the sweaty masses on the shaky dance floor all probably agreed. It definitely seems, however, that the ones having the best time at this party were Matt and Kim. The Brooklyn based duo are amongst the most genuinely enthusiastic act that I have seen on stage. Both members continuously upped the ante for dancing surfaces throughout the show; from keyboard stools, to bass drums, to the hands of the audience; and there was rarely a moment when you couldn’t find a smile stretched all the way across the face of drummer Kim Schifino. Their energy was highly contagious; the dance floor felt more like a trampoline from the 1,000 fans jumping up and down simultaneously.
Early in the show Matt had mentioned that his favorite things in life were “One: Playing Shows, Two: Burritos, Three: TV’s Modern Family, and Four: New York City.” He later amended this statement by placing “Playing shows in New York City” ahead of them all. After all; the couple, who met at Pratt, owe a lot of their sound and development to New York. Their second album Grand is named after the street in Williamsburg where the couple resides, and many of their songs can be interpreted lyrically as local anthems. The two sold out shows at Webster Hall this week were also in anticipation of their third album Sidewalks, which comes out November 2nd.
The first two albums from this band are chock full of 1 to 3 minute tracks; replete with pounding rhythm and catchy hooks. Matt & Kim do a great job of making simplicity work; mostly due to the tremendous amount of energy poured into each track. This energy is most evident of course in their live show. Their songs are like sprints, you can even see some panting from the duo between tracks. This may explain the tremendous amount of banter laced between songs; often times they remind you of that couple that needs to remind everybody around them of how happy they are and how awesome everything is. Even though these sort of actions sometimes bring about the gag reflex, it was pretty amazing to see how their cheery, good-times spirit was absorbed by the crowd.
Almost all of Matt & Kim and Grand were played (curiously not much new material was featured); along with covers such as Biz Markie’s “Just A Friend” and Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya.” The show closed with a highly synthesized take on Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone” which went into “Daylight” – easily the band’s biggest hit to date.
It’s clear that Matt & Kim thoroughly enjoy hosting these dance parties and it’s very refreshing to see just how much of themselves they pour into it. This all feeds back to the live experience and leaves you walking away with aching legs and a grin almost as big as Kim’s.
Words and photos from Jesse Zryb