Matt and Kim at Craftsman Court

Third Thursday in Scottsdale proved a massive mish-mash of ages, scenes and reasons for attendance. Matt and Kim played a free gig for FM 103.9's free concert series, Sean Kingston was at Venue of Scottsdale, plus, there was that whole art walk thing.

The Brooklyn-based duo Matt and Kim took the stage at Craftsman Court around 9 p.m., and spewed rays of sunshine so genuine that it wouldn't be surprising to find them as hosts of a t.v. show aimed at kiddos. Both brought with them beaming smiles and MC moves, perfectly suited to the sugary pop and big hip-hop beats the group sample and bang out.

"Let's all take a big, collective sigh of relief 'cause the balloon boy is OK," Matt joked. He then proclaimed his love for feeling as though he'd traveled back into summertime, after being in New York, and kicked into "It's a Fact (Printed Stained)."

Fans repeatedly bashed through the metal barriers separating the stage from the crowd and literally had the stage hands pushing the gate-like units back at the mass of people. Kim shot over to the microphone to thank the muscley preservers: "You guys holding the barricade, are allowing us to have a fucking great time."

Exposing some freak punk roots, Matt and Kim then flew into the alleged fastest song they've ever written and doubled the time. The instrumental assault sounded like Minor Threat layered with the soundtrack to Mario in his Nintendo World on speed.

"I wanna see you get wild," Matt said, peppering "Silver Tiles," the first Matt and Kim song ever written, and "5K" with can-can kicks and rather impressive arabesques. Kim borrowed a few choice rock drummer moves (see: holding one stick in the air epically, crossing sticks, flexing biceps, etc.). She sang backups on "Lessons Learned," the song featured in the video for which they recently won a moon man. Matt referred to the event, the winning that is, as "Something weird that happened," adding that it was their first MTV VMA and it was awarded for the first time they were naked in Times Square.

After the crowd served up some serious "da da dada da da's" for the song, Kim, now armed with her own mic, exclaimed: "You guys are so fucking awesome." Matt remarked that although his counterpart has the body of a 15-year-old boy, she has the mouth of a 60-year-old sailor. 

Matt gave a shout-out to downtown Phoenix's Trunk Space, where the band had played a few years back, before their big jump to the Fader Label (yes, that Fader), and inevitably to MTV and Clear Channel stations. It's been a period of presumably astronomical change for Matt and Kim, switching labels, garnering major national interest, winning awards and selling Bacardi. Their gradual build from playing the adamantly independent and quirky Trunk Space to packing an outdoor gig in good ole "Snottsdale" makes Matt and Kim all the more legitimate as musicians, and all the more likable as people who appreciate how far they've come.

After thanking local opener Telescope, and a little air guitar windmilling, the band jammed out nostalgia-heavies "Cutdown" and "Turn This Boat Around," decidedly closing with "Daylight." Matt said it was to match his mid-October sunburn, which he seemed ecstatic about.

As Kim's fuzzed-out drums bursted through the cool night air, the crowd truly got wild, for finally being treated to the single that's been lodged in their mind grapes since January 20th. Kim stood atop her kick drum and stomped it, as she led the crowd through the breakdown.  "We're Matt and Kim, and you're fantastic." And that was that.

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Matt and Kim at Craftsman Court

Better Than: 103.9 FM, or The Edge or whatever it is these days, booking Lit as the headliners for their free gig last December.

Personal Bias: I'm generally opposed to concerts in malls sponsored by radio stations I find to be exceedingly boring, but, for Matt and Kim, I'll make exceptions.

Random Fact: In case any readers of their web site blog are wondering: Yes, both do indeed speak almost exactly identically to the manner in which they write. To quote a posting from late June: "Just take everything a few steps back, put on some music that you hold close, and make this summer all about you." Their sort of new agey, see and feel the beauty of the earth perspective is all too endearing, and their graciousness more than genuine.

Further Listening: Matt and Kim's more "sophisticated" (read: cleaned up) sister band, also a male and female duo, Mates of State. If you're already into Mates, maybe try The Blow or Tilly and The Wall.