Concert review: Matt and Kim at State Theatre (with photos)

If anything, Matt and Kim are out to have a good time.

Friday night's show at State Theatre in Downtown St. Pete was fun. I had never before seen such enthusiasm from a national touring act. Matt Johnson, the singer and keyboardist for the dance-punk group, demonstrated much of it. Throughout the set, he flailed his arms about and seemed determined for everything to stay light and happy, while Kim Schifino, the drummer, perpetually smiled a megawatt smile. In fact, the two beamed so often it was impossible to not join in on the contagious happiness.

The indie two-piece came onto stage to a loop of Notorious B.I.G repeating "Where Brooklyn at?" The Brooklyn-bred band seemed to have an affinity for hip-hop — touring with the Atlanta rapper Donnis and interspersing several of their night's songs with short selections of rap classics. One of the early songs played was "Good Ol' Fashioned Nightmare," which was just as upbeat and bouncy as the studio version. Soon after this number came the rap interludes, with the duo covering short bits of "Jump on It" by Sir Mix-a-Lot and DJ Kool's "Let me Clear My Throat."

The crowd shouted along the words to Grand's "Cutdown,"  and the enthusiasm train kept rolling along. Even if Matt tripped midway through the night's set. He played it cool with a joke, by saying, "Hey, do you guys remember time Matt and Kim were in St. Pete and Matt fell on his ass? —Oh, wait, that was tonight."

"Lightspeed" was probably my favorite song of theirs of the night, and as I was enjoying the song, I noticed a group of fans start crowdsurfing. It was all also around this time that the band released multi-colored balloons into the crowd and people began tossing them around the State Theatre's main floor. And it was also around this time that I realized Matt and Kim really knew how to throw a fun show.

They dedicated the synthy, punk-y "Silver Tiles" to St. Petersburg, because it was the first time in St. Petersburg. The track led well into the next song, a track the band said was the fastest-paced song they ever wrote. "Hold on to your dicks, because it's about to get crazy," Matt said before launching into the blistering dance-punk number.

On 2009's "Turn This Boat Around," the band seemed to be channeling fellow indie-rock two-piece Mates of State, with Matt's buoyant voice. Drummer Kim Schifino stood up on her drumset and was conducting the crowd with her arms — making the swarm of concertgoers move their own arms to the music.

Matt dedicated "Yea Yeah" to fans who traveled from Tampa, because, as he said, "you lucky bastards have summer all year 'round." Soon after this happy cut was a quick selection of Alice Deejay's "Better Off Alone"

I don't think many people who went to that concert thought they would be better off alone after the high fun Matt and Kim provided. "Daylight," the closer, and their best-known song, caused a gigantic cheer to erupt in the crowd. Perhaps Matt captured the mood best when he said, "Friday night's a good night to go to a dance party."

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