This past Saturday night, I went and watched Matt & Kim perform at the Fox Theater in Oakland, California. While being a band with only a keyboardist and drummer, they are known for their upbeat music and energetic crowds. I walked into the show with high expectations, as it was my second time seeing them (I had seen their amazing performance at Live 105‘s BFD in 2010), and I expected this show to be better than the last because it was not in an outdoor venue with a short amount of time to play. Simply put, they delivered one of the most energetic performances I have ever seen and exceeded the expectations I had.
As the lights went down, after The Thermals delivered a fantastic opening, I could feel the energy radiating from the crowd. The keyboard and drums were set up on a small raised platform on the stage, illuminated by the stage lights. Matt and Kim ascended the stage and took their places, Kim at the drums and Matt at the keys, and dove into “Block After Block”, their newest single off their album Sidewalks. This immediately pumped up the crowd and got everyone jumping, pushing, and singing every word at the top of their lungs.
As they continued their show, they connected with the audience and encouraged everyone to get involved, even the balcony. Instead of just asking everyone to sing along and jump up and down like the typical band, they threw out deflated balloons and told us all to blow them up. I enthusiastically grabbed one of the balloons and began to inflate it. Matt then told us to hold onto them until he said “One, two, one, two, three, four!,” which meant to the crowd that we would be dancing to their song “Yea Yeah.”
As soon as the song started, the balloons went flying around and the crowd was going crazy – the balloons continued to get tossed around throughout the rest of their set and I never saw one touch the ground. Their crowd interaction did not end there, as Kim would look at people in the audience and point or smile at them – I was lucky enough to get about a minute of her eye-contact and it genuinely made the show better. She would also step away from her drums and run out to the crowd and grab the hands of fans and even hand out her drumsticks. Matt would do the same when he could and would reach out to the crowd and encourage them to sing the words instead of him. The entire show was filled with amazing energy from the both of them – the jumping never stopped and the singing continued long after the show within my ears.
They ended their set with their most popular song “Daylight”, and when the crowd commanded them to perform an encore, they did something I had never seen before. Instead of just performing another song, they did a mash-up of all the hooks within all of their songs including: “Daylight,” “Cameras”, “Yea Yeah”, and “Lightspeed”.
Matt and Kim completely blew me away. Instead of being the same band I saw with the same great live performance, they got better. They reminisced on their last time in the Bay Area (at BFD), where Kim did her infamous “booty dance” for the first time, and after announcing this, she recreated it for us. They also reflected back on their first show in Oakland, where they played to a cafe filled with six people, and the show got shut down because they were not the “acoustic” band that the manager had thought.
While being just two people, Matt and Kim deliver one of the most energetic and genuinely fun performances I have ever seen. With the show that I experienced on Saturday night, I know that Matt and Kim love what they do and could tell that they see themselves performing and creating music for a very long time.