I had some technical difficulties on Monday night, so let me start with the fact that Matt and Kim, which performed at Marquee Theatre in Tempe, are spectacular in concert. I spent some time listening to the duo's latest album, Lightning, before heading out to the show, and there is just no comparing the recorded versions of Matt and Kim's music to the experience of them playing it in person.
I don't generally believe that any band brings a completely different shows to each stage every night, but I'll be goddamned if Matt and Kim comes close. The realist in me knows that some of the banter is canned and some of the antics play out the same way on every stop of the tour, but there is just no way to fake the level of electricity and fan interaction they achieved at the Marquee.
When interacting with Matt and Kim on social media, the user alway feels he is actually acknowledged by a member of the band and not by a member of the clique, which Matt and Kim confirmed from the stage. But in concert, it's like every fan personally had Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino come shake their hand and say "hi." They interact with the crowd that well.
Johnson has an innate understanding with the crowd and talks to it as if it were an old friend, as opposed to complete strangers only connected by the thick fog of sweat floating through the air and the loud noises emanating from the venue speakers.
It's not just Johnson, either. The group is really doubly blessed in the engaging musical figure area, as Schifino and her . . . assets create just as much interactive impact as Johnson and his quick wit. Schifino also is usually quick with the repartee and brings far more to the table than her trademark booty dances and venue-rumbling drums.
The band really just outshines other performers in the audience-interaction department, which is definitely the band's bread and butter because even onstage they are not afraid to admit that "musical perfection was never a part of the deal," as Johnson put it before they went into their newest single, "Get It."
Except for one time when Schifino called for a circle that never came to fruition, the duo had the audience in its palm. When Johnson and Schifino called for crowd surfers, there were crowd surfers. When they called for people to get on each other's shoulders, people got on each others shoulders. When they called for people to take off their shirts and spin them around their heads at the end of the set, well, most of the crowd left the venue topless.
They interact with their audience at a different level than most acts touring currently. They have a different way about them and a different energy, whatever they are doing I just can't wait for them to make good on their promise to come back to Tempe real soon.
See next page for Critic's Notebook
Last Night: Matt and Kim at the Marquee Theatre
Overheard in the crowd: "God, he's so cute," the girl behind me about Matt.
Personal Bias: This is my fourth time seeing Matt and Kim and I finally understand the meaning of "dance punk." Seriously, that was a mystery to me until the instrumental song about half through the set.
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