Matt and Kim at Clubhouse Music Venue Last Night

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Matt and Kim
Clubhouse Music Venue in Tempe
October 6, 2010

Summer seemed to end about 48 hours ago in Phoenix, when golf balls of hail fell from the October sky, finally banishing triple digit temperatures from the Valley for a few months.

You'd never know it inside the Clubhouse Music Venue where Brooklyn-based duo Matt and Kim played for a sold-out, stinky, sticky, and sweaty crowd Wednesday night. It was one of those shows where the temperature picked up a good 30 degrees as the door of the club swung open, an unpleasant reminder of a miserable season.

Actually, for a youngish crowd that went wild dancing, flailing and bouncing as Matt (keyboards) and Kim (drums) super-smiled their way through their eponymous 2006 debut, 2009's Grand and the as-yet-unreleased Sidewalks, the 75-minute set was as much a Bikram Yoga session as a concert. They sweated joyfully as the band blasted through their catalog of punky three-minute tracks. The fact that Kim Schifino really looked like a yoga instructor with her muscled arms, tousled brown mop and black wife-beater helped set the scene.

"Someone once told me it got hot and sweaty in Arizona but I didn't think it'd be anything like this," said a chatty Matt Johnson between songs. I didn't expect it either and I live here. I missed a good portion of the show and still felt the beginnings of a heat rash bubbling up by the end. Gross, I know.

The band's simple setup -- the two cram themselves together in the center of the stage -- was given an extra edge with a soaring rig of blinking LCD lights that would've fit better inside Marquee Theatre. The Big Show feel was augmented by some crowdsurfing and a boy taking a seat on his father's shoulders during the big hit, "Daylight." (At least that's what it looked like from where I stood.)

The band's own material sounded great -- the first single, "Yea Yeah," the penultimate offering, was at the top of my list -- but it was a few mini-covers that got the crowd most riled.

The night's biggest showstopper may have been Biz Markie's "Just A Friend." Actually, though, it was just the chorus repeated like five times ("You, you got what I need but you say he's just a friend. And you say he's just a friend, oh baby. You, you got what I need but you say he's just a friend. But you say he's just a friend, oh baby." etc. etc. etc.)

Memo to M&K: The song does have actual verses and repeating them in time requires only the barest of rapping abilities. Call me a cynical, fun-hating, old bastard, but I consider just doing the refrain a few times a cheap pop.

Likewise for a snippet of Europe's "The Final Countdown," which Matt prefaced by saying the band has done it a lot and planned to stop using it on this tour. But since the band hadn't played in Arizona much, eh, why not?

And why not, indeed. Once everyone is covered in other people's sweat it makes sense to bust out all the 80s hits you can and party down. Matt and Kim do that well.

Personal Bias: I've been a big fan since 2006 but I wish I'd seen them a few years ago at a smaller venue.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Oh my God it's so hot," was a sentence I heard several times. My favorite post-show facebook status update from a friend: "I'm sweaty and disgusting and I can't remember the last time I had so much fun at a show."

Random Notebook Dump: Sticky Sweaty. Like Florida. Hate Florida.

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