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Matt and Kim

with The Thermals

Culture Room
Ft. Lauderdale, FL
June 6, 2011

Maybe it’s the end of the school year or maybe it’s just the duo’s fan base but the audience at Culture Room for the Matt and Kim show was about as young as a concert can get without being held at a middle school. There’s nothing wrong with a young crowd, they bring a ton of enthusiasm to a show, but it sucks when they only serve alcohol at one of the three bars. Also, the venue refused to show the NBA Finals on any of their TVs…Come on!

To warm up the audience, Matt and Kim‘s touring MC, DJ Autobot of Flosstrodamus spun all the Top 40 pop and hip hop hits you usually hear on the radio. The selections were uninspired and stale; let’s just say that DJ Autobot’s full name is way cooler than his musical selections.

Finally prying Autobot away from his turntables was the indie punk band from Portland, The Thermals. The three-piece got the show rolling quite nicely, playing an incessantly upbeat set. Lead singer and guitarist, Hutch Harris, wasted little time belting out a 10-song set including “Trivia,” “We Were Sick,” and the popular 2007 single “A Pillar of Salt.” The young crowd loved every minute of The Thermals, releasing all their teen angst in the form of jumping around and flailing their arms. One girl positioned stage left screamed almost every word as loud if not louder than Harris; unfortunately, her voice left a lot to be desired.

To say Matt and Kim are one of the most enthusiastic, cheerful bands in existence is no stretch. If there could be an anti 90’s grunge band, Matt and Kim might be it. The duo out of Brooklyn, New York has found recent success among the current rise of indie pop/rock bands like MGMT and Vampire Weekend. Their most recent album, Sidewalks, peaked at #30 on the Billboard Chart.

Matt Johnson and his wife Kim Schifino skipped onstage to Jay Z’s “Empire State of Mind” and after a brief round of dishing out high fives to the frenzied audience, they jumped into “Block By Block” offSidewalks.

Perhaps what makes Matt and Kim so insanely energetic is the need to overcompensate for the fact that they cannot move around stage while playing and that a keyboard is not the sexiest instrument.

Throughout the entire set, the two-piece sustained massive grins and an impressive stage presence for a band comprised of only a drummer and keyboardist. In most bands, the group’s “image” is almost entirely left up to the guitarist and/or lead singer, who’s able to move around the stage and interact with the audience. Perhaps what makes Matt and Kim so insanely energetic is the need to overcompensate for the fact that they cannot move around stage while playing and that a keyboard is not the sexiest instrument. Fortunately, the overcompensation works in almost every aspect and encourages a little creativity from the two. Drummer, Kim, used almost every opportunity to jump up on her kit, encouraging the already dancing audience to dance more. Matt and Kim both took brief opportunities to leave their instruments behind and crowd surf.

The pseudo covers thrown into the set, like Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend,” and Alice Deejay’s “Better Off Alone,” not only padded their short discography, but broke up any potential monotony of hearing a two piece for an hour and 15 minutes.

To finish the set, the duo closed with their biggest hit “Daylight.” For the much demanded encore, Matt and Kim danced and sang along, minus microphones, to a recording of “Daylight.” So the encore was Matt and Kim singing along to a Matt and Kim song. Don’t think about it too hard, it’s like putting two mirrors facing each other.

As the clock ticked past 11 p.m., and the dance party inside Culture Room threatened to go on all night, tired parents reminded their children of their curfew and those 21+ looked for an easier place to grab a beer.

 

Review and Photos by Adam McCormick

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