Matt & Kim @ the Phoenix – “Welcome Home, Strangers.”


The night began like a house party with a thousand strangers. Despite the laid-back expressions of the hipster crowd – last.fm users and organic tea drinkers alike – there was anticipation for an evening of chaos. And in true Hallowe’en spirit, Toronto’s Phoenix Concert Theatre, decked out in ghoulish décor, was about to be shaken by the party’s two rambunctious hosts.

Matt Johnson was ready to party. mitZine's Emily Fister was very much game.

With a single fist raised from behind his Moog keyboard, Matt Johnson smiled. “Toronto, it’s Friday night. You have NOTHING to do tomorrow. Let’s tear this place down!”

Permission to get the party started: granted.

Brooklyn’s indie-pop heroes Matt & Kim are known for their intimate shows. From the band’s DIY beginnings to their recent mainstream accolade, I had the high expectation of a night to Tweet home about. Touring in support of their new album, Sidewalks, Matt & Kim may have added a light show and a bigger venue, but they still remain both relatable and lovable. The duo greeted the plaid-clad audience with the same reception you would an old friend. Their welcome sparked an instant mosh pit frenzy with the military-esque opener, “Cutdown.” Within seconds, limbs collided to Kim Schifino’s steady beat, and laughter flooded the concert hall.

The set was filled with the hyperactive insanity of Matt & Kim’s sophomore release, Grand. Fan favourites like “Good Ol’ Fashioned Nightmare” and “Lessons Learned” triggered a sea of enthusiastic and drunken sing-a-longs. The friendship anthem, “Silver Tiles,” was the surprise track of the evening. Die-hard fans relished in the moment. Newly revamped for Sidewalks, the song has a nostalgic underground value. As the tempo increased and the breakdown crescendoed, Matt placed one foot on the unstable keyboard and Kim led the chorus’ chant: “And all our hopes, and all our friends…”

Kim Schifino is all smiles and drumbeats

Matt & Kim’s chemistry is contagious. It never fazed me that there were only two musicians on stage. The comedic banter in between was effortless, as the couple bounced from one optimistic track to the next. It was made clear that this wasn’t a time to reflect or mope. The show was a celebration of being young and in the moment. Kim, with a smile as bright as her glitter eye shadow, tossed balloons out for the fans to blow up. Caught in a sea of flying fluorescent colours, she then leapt into the mosh pit to Major Lazer’s party song, “Pon de Floor.” Hands shot up, steadying the pint-size drummer with all the vigor we had left.

The closing pick-me-up hit, “Daylight,” allowed the crowd to catch its breath for a split second. A piano interlude built up anticipation, and the fuse was lit for an unforgettable finale. I may have lost an earring and earned a gnarly nose bleed, but my worries were gone as soon as the chorus hit: “In the daylight anywhere feels like home.”

 

I left the Phoenix that night with a post-concert euphoria. My hair was damp, my skin was warm, and I felt alive with the promise of 999 new friends.

Cheers, Matt & Kim, for welcoming me into your home.

5/5

Check out “Our Photos” in the sidebar for some exclusive photo’s from Emily Fister’s night with Matt & Kim

And check out this exclusive video:

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