In preparation for the release of their third album Sidewalks, released on Tuesday, Indie pop duo Matt & Kim made a stop at Rochester's Water Street Music Hall last Thursday night, one of the many on their almost relentless tour schedule.
The group, formed in 2004 by vocalist/keyboardist Matt Johnson and drummer Kim Schifino, released their third album Sidewalks on Tuesday. The two met while students at Brooklyn's Pratt Institute. The duo's do-it-yourself attitude has earned them modest success since the release of their self-titled album in 2006, even going so far as to rocket them to a performance at the 2009 mtvU Woodie Awards, an accomplishment that has certainly brought them mainstream recognition.
The two-person act certainly lived up to the hype, pulling off a pleasant surprise of a concert at Water Street. The opening act came in the form of virtually unknown rapper Donnis, who hails from Atlanta, Ga. and treated the Rochester audience to a variety of musical stylings that included a number of samplings from popular hip-hop songs like Far East Movement's "Like A G6" alongside Donnis' own easy flowing raps. Schifino even joined Donnis on stage at one point, jumping around with him to the fueling cheers of the crowd.
Matt & Kim took the stage shortly after, and immediately fell into the danceable rock songs and witty onstage banter they've come to be known for. Johnson said that Rochester was the coldest place the duo has visited so far this year, but that did not take away from the heated atmosphere of the room as the crowd danced and sang, shaking the floor of the club.
The pair played a set list that noticeably lacked tracks from Sidewalks; perhaps the duo was hoping to please longtime fans rather than attract new ones. There were of course the staple hits like "Good Ol' Fashion Nightmare" and "Lessons Learned" that were complemented by lesser known songs like "5K" and "Cutdown."
At numerous points throughout the night, the twosome managed to thoroughly involve the packed audience into their act. Sampling a number of popular songs including DJ Kool's "Let Me Clear My Throat" and Biz Markie's "Just a Friend," Matt & Kim encouraged the crowd to sing along loudly. In the middle of the set, Schifino climbed past the barrier and began to dance in the midst of the fray as fans supported her on their hands. The duo threw out balloons to be blown up by the audience, an element that enhanced the show's already enjoyable atmosphere.
"We love doing this, and we're so appreciative of your support … This - performing - is my No. 1, right up there with eating burritos and watching 'Modern Family,'" Johnson joked as the show neared its end. The duo predictably finished off the night with their hit "Daylight," and jumped off stage to greet fans singing along to the club's sound system which played Jay-Z's "Empire State of Mind." Matt & Kim was welcomed into the literal arms of a city that will certainly be glad to have them back in the future.