Contributor Christeen Roden reviews Matt & Kim at Rams Head Live Saturday, October 23.
Exuberant doesn’t begin to describe the visceral experience of being twenty feet away from a two of the most energetic musicians around, Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino.
Even in the cavernous atrium that is Ram's Head Live, Matt & Kim’s energy Saturday night was as infectious as it was goofily charming. Barely a body remained still on the surprisingly packed floor or the balconies, which were overflowing with ardent, if less-expressive fans.
True to Matt Johnson’s earlier promise, they dazzled longtime fans by sticking mostly to their previously released material. And, just like they did at Virgin Mobile FreeFest, they also mixed it up with a few Old Dirty Bastard and Sir-Mix-A-Lot covers.
During a particularly boisterous Major Lazer riff, Kim obliged the more rabid audience members by dusting off that old rock 'n’ roll stand by: the stage dive, and pulled it off without any visible body arm except hand prints.
Any lull between songs were filled in by the adorably familiar banter between the (obviously) close duo. For instance, I now know that last year Johnson dressed like Andy Warhol for Halloween. And that Kim was a very serious runner in high school, but that instead of taking a full college scholarship, she ran away to Brooklyn where she met Johnson and started the band.
It was surprising to see the venue so full, if only because Matt & Kim are such a Brooklyn band - their last album, "Grand," was even named after a main fixed-gear thoroughfare in Williamsburg. I didn't know if Baltimore would come out for them. But I found myself standing amid a great deal fewer coke-bottle glasses than anticipated; the Baltimoreans in the crowd lapped up whatever the duo threw at them, including balloons.
While it's difficult to pinpoint a highlight of what was a raucous hour-long performance, their rendition of the “Grand” hit and fan-favorite “Daylight” is an obvious choice. Earlier in the night the band had passed around balloons, and during this performance, fans blew them up and released them.
It was as charming a move as the duo's performance, and also a plug. Upon closer inspection I noticed they were emblazoned with Schifino's likeness, and the release date of their new album, "Sidewalks."
Good Ol Fashion Nightmare
Don't Slow Down
Christeen Roden has an English degree from University of Maryland at College Park. She maintains her own blog about Baltimore and has written for blackbookmag.com. Erik Maza edited this post.
*Set list is incomplete