Show Review + Photos: Matt & Kim at Off Broadway, Sunday, August 23

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Photo: Egan O'Keefe
Matt and Kim last night at Off Broadway.
Matt & Kim's way-sold-out show at Off Broadway felt more like a bumping Friday than it did a school night. (The fair amount of toddlers and kids running around, rocking out and/or looking tired contributed to the festive mood -- albeit made for strange bedfellows with the drunken, sweaty hipsterati.) And the Brooklyn duo, perma-grins slapped on their face, did its part and whipped the excited crowd into a frenzy.

(See 30-photo slide show from Matt and Kim last night.)

M&K's music isn't complicated: Take one part circus-theme keyboards -- with an emphasis on the primitive and repetitive -- one part unpolished vocals and add in riotous, dancefloor-ready drums. While on its albums (including and especially its most recent LP, Grand) the music has more new wave/'80s electro influences, live, the act strips its music down to the rhythmic, party-ready core. For that reason, last night it was easy to be fatigued by the pair's shambling body-movers -- many of the songs sounded the same, and came off as cloying. 
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Photo: Egan O'Keefe
Kim Schifino of Matt and Kim. See more photos from last night.
But that's only if you were thinking critically about M&K's music -- and really, who would want to during the gig? The crowd came to dance and sing and have a good time, and that's what the show delivered. Highlights included "Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare," "Lightspeed" and "I Wanna" -- as well as some Top 40 snippets and a cover of "Rock & Roll, Part II." It all came off like a set of indie-rock jock jams, suitable for bros and the hipsters who alternately love and loathe them. 

What saves the duo is its ebullience.The band is so happy onstage, the more cynical or curmudgeonly in attendance might want to smack them both. (Matt in particular looks and acts like that fresh-faced kid who lived for drama class in high school, the one who was really outgoing and earnest, to an annoying fault.) But M&K is sincere about its fun. And totally serious about having a blast: Kim crowdsurfed within the first fifteen minutes of the show and contributed vocals live -- for the first time, Matt said -- on the debut airing of "Lessons Learned." And Matt fomented the crowd with windmill arm-spins, dorky dancing and unself-conscious singing. 

With so many bands stressing pomp, circumstance and complexity over a good time, Matt & Kim are a refreshing breath of air -- a band focusing on the innocent, childlike aim of just having fun.
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