Short, sweet, and sweaty. These are the three words that best describe Matt and Kim’s particularly amped up performance on Tuesday night at the pleasantly packed Majestic.
Local Madison rapper F. Stokes got the crowd warmed up with a solid set of rhymes layered over soulful, funky beats.
The Brooklyn-based So So Glos, on tour with Matt and Kim, followed Stokes’ set with some pop punk songs powered by front man Alex Levine’s rolling bass lines. Although the crowd was a bit reserved during the band’s performance, the odd similarity between Levine’s voice and Matt Johnson’s voice provided a smooth transition to the headliner.
The dance punk duo set the stage for a lively, intimate performance by dancing their way to their instruments as a loud, head-bobbing hip hop beat played over the speakers. Matt proceeded to put his fists together as he sat down to his synth, displaying to the crowd the letters “M-A-D-I-S-O-N-!” written across his knuckles, prompting a loud cheer of approval.
The band broke into their blazing set with an energetic performance of “I Wanna,” a song from their sophomore release Grand. The duo ran through a mix of songs from their first two albums, controlling the ebb and flow of the crowd with the changing tempos of their songs but maintaining a high energy throughout the show. The one semi-quiet moment came mid-concert with the drum-free “Turn This Boat Around,” on which Matt kept rhythm with a bouncy keyboard melody while Kim playfully reached over his shoulder to assist with some drawn out notes on the synth. But Kim was soon back at her drum set, pounding away to the countdown lyrics of “Cutdown” and chopping through the beat of the fast tempo “Cinders” at ludicrous speed. All the while, the two musicians traded smiles with each other, clearly having a blast hammering away at their instruments in front of a lively crowd. The packed-in, sweaty crowd fed off the musicians’ energy, jumping and clapping to Kim’s infectious up-tempo beats and Matt’s equally electrifying piano and synth riffs.
Matt kept with the intimate feel of the venue by chatting with the crowd between songs, giving them background about songs—such as “5K,” inspired by Kim’s former years as a runner at Penn State—and talking about how much he and Kim love playing in Madison. Commenting on the small size of the Majestic, Matt said he felt like the band and the crowd were just “hanging out together.” Kim elaborated by saying that when they play in Madison, they feel completely uninhibited. “We’re just up her doing whatever the [heck] we want, ” the drummer said. The band demonstrated this free-spirited inhibition in their fun performances of 90s hip hop classics such as “Jump On It” by Sir Mix-A-Lot and “Just a Friend” by Biz Markie, the latter being largely sung by the crowd as Matt played the immediately recognizable piano part. Furthermore, in the spirit of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s famous ode to the hindquarters, the duo quit playing for a moment to let Kim shake what was given her as she quite skillfully balanced herself on the hands of fans.
After selling out a show at the Majestic last September, the band received a warm welcome back from another sold out crowd. The fans intensely danced and bounced through each song as if the concert were an extended, extra sweaty version of “Jump Around” at Camp Randall. Though Matt & Kim only played for a little over an hour, their show was jam packed with energy, both from the two musicians letting loose on their instruments and the crowd joyfully sweating through every song. Choosing “Daylight” to close out their set was an obvious choice, but not disappointing in the least. The duo’s quick but lively performance of the popular song satisfied the crowd by giving them a last chance to let go before heading back to the grind of weekday work.