High-energy band Matt and Kim thrill concertgoers

Sweat happens — especially at a sold-out Matt and Kim concert. The 600 concertgoers who packed The Clubhouse in Tempe Wednesday to see the New York dance-pop duo left the show looking like different creatures, with wild hair, head-to-toe sweat and beaming smiles.

Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino, together the band Matt and Kim, joined forces in 2004 after meeting in college. Matt sings lead vocals and plays keyboard, and Kim plays drums and sings backup vocals.

They are a delightfully quirky pair. Kim has dark, uneven hair and a signature smile that never fades as she exuberantly pounds on the drums. She’s like a Mrs. Potato Head with the ear-to-ear smile piece permanently snapped on. Matt is more clean cut and possesses a distinct voice that strains as if it’s barely able to keep up with its own energy. On stage, Matt likes to stretch his limbs into the air — arms and legs and whatever he isn’t using to play keyboard at the time.

Jeremiah Gratza, director of operations for the local concert promotion company Stateside Presents, booked the show and said he was not surprised it sold out.

“(Matt and Kim) played the free Third Thursday show like six months ago, and they had a really good turnout,” Gratza said. “I like their high energy, the way they can get the crowd worked.”

Concertgoers got a chance to hear Matt and Kim's entire upcoming album "Sidewalks," expected to be released Nov. 2, in the venue before the show. From a surface listen, it seemed that the two stuck to what they do best: jaunty, thumping beats.

Phoenix band Treasure Mammal opened the show with a performance that seemed as if it were plucked from a twisted dream. The singer, dressed in a floral leotard, shouted lyrics to dance-y beats as two men rallied the crowd in neon zebra-print leotards. A man wearing a white suit and a rabbit costume head also jumped on stage a few times. Nobody played live instruments.

A more conservatively dressed progressive rock act, Fang Island, followed Treasure Mammal. They were talented musicians, but slightly out of place in front of concertgoers eagerly waiting to get off their feet for Matt and Kim.

Once the two took the stage, the “Matt and Kim” chanting transformed into cheers. They played over a dozen original songs divided between their albums “Grand,” released in 2009, and “Matt and Kim,” 2006. A few cover songs, like “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie, peppered their set and kept the crowd singing.

Geography junior Chelsea Patchen said she loved Matt and Kim’s energy. “My favorite part was when they would change it up and throw in different rap songs,” she said.

Matt and Kim ended the show by playing “Daylight,” a buoyant fan favorite. “If anyone had a bad day, a bad week or even a bad year, take the next three and a half minutes to shake it all out,” Matt said before starting the song.

Music freshman Tito Larios said the band’s live show lived up to his expectations. “I heard they put on a great show. And they did,” he said.

Reach the reporter at kkfrost@asu.edu


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