I flipped through the pages of SPIN magazine’s September 2010 issue and noticed a photo that made me smile.
The photo showed Kim Schifino of Matt and Kim standing on a drum throne holding her drumstick proudly in the air before crowd of thousands at New York’s Coney Island in August 2010.
With bandmate Matt Johnson sitting nearby at his keyboard, Schifino made her signature move to pump the crowd up.
Those guys look like fun, I thought. I need to check out one of their shows.
Later that month, I noticed Matt and Kim had a show scheduled at Detroit’s Majestic Theater. I bought tickets to the show without even knowing what their music sounded like.
I had a gut feeling they wouldn’t let me down, and I was right.
When Brian and I arrived at the Majestic Theater that night, fans were lined up around the block for the Brooklyn indie pop duo’s sold out show. I didn’t realize Matt and Kim had such a strong following, but I was just starting my foray into the indie music scene at that time.
Once the doors opened, we packed inside the historic venue located in Midtown Detroit. The speakers blared new tracks from Matt and Kim’s “Sidewalks” album before the 1,600-plus fans.
The album’s opening track, “Block After Block” pulsed through the speakers and prepped fans for an energetic dance party.
During the show that night, I was amazed by Matt and Kim’s ability to involve the crowd throughout their entire show. They make you feel like you’re part of the band from the moment they set foot on stage.
Some artists barely acknowledge the crowd’s presence during their shows, but not Matt and Kim.
Matt and Kim always make you feel like you’re their best friend. They’re masters at building instant relationships with their fans.
Whether it’s spur-of-the-moment dancing or singing, Matt and Kim want to include you in the action. I danced my diminutive bottom off and sang along to tunes from “Grand” and “Matt & Kim” that night.
After the show, Schifino came to the merch table to greet fans and take photos with them. She signed my “Matt & Kim” vinyl as we exchanged a few words. Schifino was definitely one of the nicest and most approachable artists I’ve ever met.
“Thanks for coming to Detroit,” I said. “You guys put on one hell of a show.”
Schifino grinned and said, “We wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for you guys.”
She totally gets it, I thought. Many established artists could learn from her example about how to connect with fans.
Since September 2010, I’ve caught Matt and Kim at Bonnaroo and Coachella and admired the energy surging from the crowds.
Last month, I watched their performance during the second weekend of Coachella. Hearing their cheerful voices and seeing festival goers happily dance in the crowd brought an instant smile to my face.
Matt and Kim were playing tunes from their latest EP, “We Were the Weirdos,” which they quickly recorded in L.A. between their two Coachella appearances.
Johnson proudly spoke to the Coachella crowd about the EP, which features four bouncy tracks and his blonde spiky-haired high school yearbook photo as the cover art.
“You have to ACT on inspiration, or it’ll slip through your fingers, and then we were charged up even MORE from the 1st weekend of Coachella,” said Johnson in an April 24 Stereogum blog post.
“I’m so proud of how raw and real these songs are going to be, I really believe there is something special here …”
Like Johnson said, there’s an authenticity to these songs, which truly resonate with me. My favorite track, “Fall to Pieces” opens the EP, features the duo’s signature keyboard riff and feels like reliving the fun, but awkward teenage times with an old high school buddy.
“We were the weirdos hanging out in Prospect Park/We were the weirdos making out at a graveyard/Maybe I’m not still exactly who I was but pretty close because red is always in the blood/Build all of me so I won’t fall to pieces”
The song serves as a friendly reminder to embrace your weird, younger self as you age. No matter how old we get, we still need to keep going on new youthful adventures. The energy, humor and camaraderie from those adventures will severe as our fountain of youth.
Twenty years from now, I hope to find Matt and Kim on another one of my musical adventures.
When I’m 60, I want to dance in the crowd to their songs with a whole new generation of fans who will be forming their own lifelong friendships with the Brooklyn duo.