Matt And Kim At The Marquee Theatre

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Matt And Kim At The Marquee Theatre 4/27

by Jess Swarner

photo by Amanda Luberto


I never imagined that I would be spending a Monday night the week before finals dancing in a huge crowd of sweaty, shirtless partiers.

I should have known, however, from reading previous concert reviews and hearing stories from friends that Matt and Kim’s concerts are never something you would expect.

The Brooklyn indie pop duo made up of keyboard/vocalist Matt Johnson and percussionist Kim Schifino have gained a reputation for uniquely raucous live shows, but it’s hard to fully understand what that means until you experience it yourself.

The passionate and excitable crowd at the sold-out Marquee Theatre proved they were ready to celebrate before the main act even hit the stage. The first 10 rows began dancing to the very first song of opening band Waters’ set, even though it was obvious that few were familiar with their music.

San Francisco alt rock group Waters played songs from their new album What’s Real, released April 7th. The individual members showed a surprising amount of energy and did not solely leave it up to frontman Van Pierszalowski to engage the crowd. Keyboardist Sara DaMert especially charmed the audience with her electric blue wig, spastic tambourine bouts, and dramatic facial expressions.

The band pleasantly surprised everyone when they covered Taylor Swift’s hit “Blank Space,” and finally the crowd knew enough lyrics to sing along.

Waters played “Got to My Head,” their most popular song and one that has been featured on Sirius XM’s Alt Nation, second to last. They ended with “I Feel Everything” after encouraging the crowd to back them up with some majorly spirited “woah-ohs”.

At this point, the Marquee was filled to the brim, and the heat inside was already a major issue. Fans resorted to fanning themselves with the vinyls they purchased from the merch table.

After an abnormally long pause between sets, Matt and Kim finally ran on stage and began with “Overexposed,” off of 2012’s Lightning.

They played most of their biggest hits including “Cameras,” “Let’s Go,” and “Daylight” but unfortunately “Block After Block” from 2010’s Sidewalks was missing from the set list.

The duo performed older, lesser known tracks such as “Not That Bad” and “Cinders” among many new songs from their newest album New Glow, also released April 7th. Those included popular singles “Hoodie On,” “Get It,” and “Can You Blame Me,” all tracks that you have probably heard played often on The Blaze.

Matt and Kim have a unique technique they use to transition between songs—to keep the party constant and to give Schifino some extra time to twerk, they play snippets of well-known hip hop songs (“Trap Queen,” “No Sleep Till Brooklyn”) and even some short covers (“Ignition Remix”).

Matt and Kim admitted that this show was extra special to their tour because of their previous experience with Tempe and Phoenix venues. They played at the Trunk Space multiple times back when they were first starting out, and they donated $1000 to the venue’s 2014 crowdfunding campaign to buy an air-conditioning unit. Johnson also told the crowd that he used a significant percentage of footage from previous shows at the Marquee to make the lyric video for “Get It” purely because of the electric crowd reaction.

The duo rewarded our city by playing “Silver Tiles” for the first time on tour, and, admitting that he has barely played it in front of crowds since high school, Johnson even brought out a guitar for a stripped-down version of “Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare.”

The crowd’s enthusiasm is partially an effort of their own, but Matt and Kim exhaust every effort to interact with them, making that enthusiasm extremely easy to offer. Stunts included Schifino throwing out hundreds of balloons for the crowd to blow up and bat around, Johnson throwing out t-shirts and shooting plumes of confetti, Schifino climbing out onto the crowd’s outstretched hands to perform her signature “booty dance,” and the duo giving out a huge parachute for the crowd to stretch over their heads, elementary school gym class-style.

The pair also encouraged some more rowdy behaviors like crowd surfing and a circle pit. They asked the audience members to pair up and raise each other on their shoulders, which seemed innocent enough at first, but then Schifino demanded the people on the ground bounce their partners which made for some perilous limb-swinging.

Matt and Kim saved “It’s Alright,” the popular song from Lightning that is playing on a Buick car commercial as I write this article, for the encore. Citing the incredible heat, they asked the crowd to remove their shirts and wave them above their heads, which made for a fun and relieving end to a crazy night.

New Glow is available on iTunes and Spotify.