Matt and Kim Bring the Heat: Seriously, The Fire Department Is On Stand-by


On the second night (April 29) of indie pop duo Matt and Kim’s two night engagement at the Fonda in Hollywood, the pair showed the crowd something they’ll never forget— a woman in leopard-print pants twerking backwards on top of a bass drum slamming a snare.

Photo by Rosemary Vega

Kim Schifino

That woman is Kim Schifino, who along with Matt Johnson are Matt and Kim, the indie pop duo from Brooklyn who still “can’t believe they’re big time.”  They started playing close to home in friends’ garages and urban warehouses, they vied for crowds at Lollapalooza, Bonaroo and Ultra and after years of coming up through venues like the Satellite, Troubador and Echoplex, this week the duo landed two nights at a venue with enough room to hold their growing L.A. following.

When they started out more than a decade ago Matt and Kim were part of a small pool of DIY danceable indie music, but when they released their fifth studio album New Glow this January – it was to a music landscape that is now oversaturated with disposable “pop-ternative” hits,  yet they still manage to stand out.  Their new tracks blend hip hop, EDM and punk.  “This album is the first time we sort of captured all our worlds in one place,” Johnson told Rolling Stone, “I believe a song like ‘Get it’ has always been a Matt and Kim song.  We just hadn’t recorded it yet.”  Indeed, their lead single on the track captures their celebrated party-goers spirit, “At 1am, we don’t want to go home, at 1am, we go for gold.”

While their repetitive lyrics have maintained

Photo by Rosemary Vega

Matt Johnson

a blissful rejection of sophistication, New Glow explores a new theme—their own relationship.  Even loyal fans didn’t necessarily know that Matt and Kim was inspired by the couple, Kim and Matt, but their chemistry is one of the reasons we love them, and what might make their new slew of tunes the most honest of all.  In Johnson’s words Tuesday night, “Kim and I are one plus one equals we bring the heat.”

In fact, their performance is a full sensory assault.   In one night, you could pregame watching a music video of the duo nearly getting arrested streaking through Times Square, hold a dancing Kim up in the air at their concert on the palm of your hand, and hook up with someone with great music taste using the hashtag #KimsDatingService after the show.

Once you enter their space, you better be ready.  With one person in a unicorn head and another wearing a banana suit, the crowd made it clear Tuesday night they had come to play.  The show began with the song “Tonight” from their 2012 album, Lighting.  Matt sang, “Together we will tear this place apart, I’ll cut the finish line when the race starts.”  And in a flash of pink and green lights, they were off.


Kim Schifino and Matt Johnson

After plucking one or two songs from their stock of recognizable hits, it was clear in a synth-heavy, on-beat sequence of horn sounds that they had begun to play from New Glow.  With a nod to Kim, Matt sings, “Hey now girl, if you die, I’d die right by your side.”  This song, “Hey Now,” and the next, “Not Alone” not only verbalized Kim and Matt’s playful love, but revealed why the couple still prefers to stay local—they miss their families when they’re away on tour.  Even in complete rejection of maturity, their truth is in a relatable story told simply.

Then there are their other new tunes like “Hoodie On,” which is devoid of wit, but utterly joyful.  “We don’t want to mature in albums. We want to keep things simple and fun,” Johnson has said, “And it’s surprisingly difficult to keep it simple and true without sounding cliché.”  True, it’s not every day you hear someone say, “I go everywhere with my hoodie on, I wrote this song with a hoodie on.”

This will lift your spirits, but it was never more refreshing to revisit the soul-hitting songs like “Daylight” or “Let’s Go,” which have more nuanced melodies.

Another example, “Cameras,” from their 2010 album Sidewalks, inspired a crowd sing-along that completely drowned out Matt’s voice coming through the speakers.  He stopped to say, “A mosh pit is actually breaking out up front here—my punk rock dream as a teen.”

The pair builds the energy and doesn’t let it drop until the end of the show—in fact, during a past show, the venue got so hot that the fire department came to shut them down.  It is impossible to look at Kim’s smile without throwing back your own hysterical grin.  Even between songs, we were pumped up with dance moves and interludes of DMX, UNK’s “Walk It Out,” and R. Kelly’s “Ignition.”  And for a few seconds, we might have even done the “Cha-Cha Slide.” For a mid-week show, it’s a solid hour and a half that makes you forget you ever endured a workday in your life.


Kim Schifino

What’s more, you’ll likely make new friends.  One segment of the show called, “Help a Shorty Out,” had the tall and the small pairing up to make the whole crowd really high.  Few artists can inspire two grown men stacked on top of one another, belting out “Let’s Go!”

Our advice: bring a date, or bring your bros, but wear minimal clothes.

The crowd voted that the last song should be “Lessons Learned,” keeping us present while we sang, “Thinking about tomorrow won’t change how I feel today.”  But at 1am, we didn’t want to go home.  Matt and Kim broke back out on stage for “Daylight” from their 2009 album, Grand.  And then they cut the breaks…

Kim stepped out onto two audience members’ hands and said, “I might be on top of you two, but I’m dropping that p***y low for all of you.”  Matt fondly looked at her saying, “She’s got the mouth of a 60 year old sailor…and the body of a 15 year old boy.”  Kim lifted her shirt up grinning.  Completely comfortable being who they are with each other, their fans, and apparently all of Times Square, Matt and Kim will show you the love…even if they get arrested for it.  Matt closed the show saying, “This is the love of my life, we’re Matt and Kim, and you make our dreams come true every day.”


Photography by Rosemary Vega on April 28, 2015.

Previous Image
Next Image

info heading

info content

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>