Matt and Kim Display Pure, Energetic Flair at Fillmore

Photo: She and him. Playing to a diverse audience, Matt and Kim dazzled at the Fillmore, supported by the Limousines and Fang Island.
She and him. Playing to a diverse audience, Matt and Kim dazzled at the Fillmore, supported by the Limousines and Fang Island.

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Matt and Kim's devotees are of the hardcore variety, from those willing to buy originally overpriced tickets to the Fillmore ($18.50 + nine dollar surcharge online) from scalpers for $60, to aggressive, shove-happy punk moms with platinum-streaked hair. It seems that Matt and Kim embody a new brand of hip that spans multiple generations: While I came with housemates and a boyfriend (just one), what was really exciting was the idea of going with his grandma. She had tickets for the V.I.P. section.

Pop-electronica was king this past Thursday night, as Bay Area-based band the Limousines' warbly vocals and angsty strain of dance-synth beats played out an emotive soundtrack: The perfect accompaniment for the summer-after-high-school-graduation montage or for running after your lover as she's about to board a plane and never come back. Punk moms, 30-year-old bros and teenage boy accompanied by his middle-aged parents were head-nodding to the band-sans-guitar (with a minimalist setup of vocals, drums, and keyboard). The Limousines proved themselves champions of the sweaty dance scene.

But the loud-mouthed Matt and Kim fans aren't the type to bullshit if they don't like what they hear - particularly if your band is Fang Island, also opening that night, and terrible in concert. As the second act, Fang Island proved that sometimes the bark really is worse than the bite: Accompanying their set were screams of "You're horrible!" and nods of recognition. While recordings of their songs don't play too poorly (or memorably), Fang Island live comes off as a recovering metal band, with stream-of-consciousness melodies and electronic renderings of people screaming. Changing genres from measure to measure, Fang Island's inconsistent songs often get lost in the frenzy, making music that fulfills a purpose - have band, play loud, get laid - rather than an actual need. No one wants to listen to that shit.

What the audience wanted was Matt and Kim. While the dance-pop band boasts two members, it also hosts an abundance of special guests including Matt's superfluous backwards leg kicks, his mom, and Kim's endless, wide-mouthed grin. Armed with a scene-setting smoke machine, better equipment and an '80s LED display, Matt and Kim are no longer just a low-budget opening act. Not that you ever went for the quality of their equipment, or their playing.

No one claimed that their music is the stuff of artistic genius, and anything more than just a good time. What's notable about a concert from M and K - what Pitchfork calls "one of the most ridiculously fun live shows on the planet" - is its sincerity and enthusiasm. What's gotten the band die-hard fans that know all the words to their songs is the self-conscious understanding that they've lucked out. Matt and Kim champion a D.I.Y., we-did-it-and-so-can-you mentality, radiating an appreciation for the audience that got them to the big time: "This is the most successful I've ever been at anything in my life," Matt said to the crowd.

Projecting showmanship at its most pure and energetic, Matt and Kim produced a set that got the feet jumping and the 45-year-old standing in your face to sing along to every song. The band played a show mirroring educational children's programming for adults, lowering themselves into the audience pit for after-show hugs to close a set of unadulterated fun. Said the guy next to me with a sigh, at the post-show exit shuffle: "If I could spend just five minutes as happy as Kim, I could die."

Sell your grandma's tickets to the V.I.P. section to Liz at [email protected]

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