Performing with Spunk, Matt and Kim Reward Fans with Unfiltered Passion

Matt And Kim/Courtesy

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Fame is like a mirror - if you glance at it, you get a pretty decent view of your image. However, the longer you stare, the more engrossed with yourself you become, ignoring the loyal fans holding up the mirror that displays your vain, radiant glow. Although many bands seem to stare forever into the "fame-mirror," Matt and Kim flip it around, signifying the importance of their supporters and how much they owe their success to their fan base.

The Brooklyn duo broke out with their upbeat single "Daylight" and released their latest album Sidewalks last fall. This past weekend, the lively duo kicked off their Sidewalks tour by playing a small show at CSU Hayward. These intimate shows are important to Matt and Kim as it allows them to connect with their fans while simultaneously knocking them out with a flurry of raw, indie-pop punches.

A low-key venue does not necessarily prevent either a connection with fans or a melodic knockout. Matt described the joy in performing at smaller shows during a phone interview: "Those more intimate experiences where there's no barricade, where you can just reach out, creates a different connection that you can't get at a festival venue." Even though the energy from the crowd was compacted into a small room, the duo fed off the audience's energy like starving squirrels, which created a supercharged, hyperactive atmosphere that no one shied away from. Matt and Kim were able to let this high-speed energy flow naturally with the crowd: "If people are there to dance and have fun, then its a great show, and that's what Hayward was like."

A vast majority of bands feel like their reflection cant be properly shown if the frame of the mirror is the size of a compact club or multi-purpose room. Bands like the Strokes, with fans that wait many years for a new album, rarely ever give back to their faithful devotees besides the occasional arena or festival show. Playing to a smaller yet equally enthusiastic crowd can give a similar, if not more, satisfying feeling than playing to a large, faceless audience, as evident by the energy at Hayward. The handful of attendees could have grossly overpowered most festival crowds, especially when Matt and Kim treated fans to first time performances of "Block After Block" and "Wires" from Sidewalks.

Whether the set is 20 or 90 minutes, the pair's energetic demeanor never falters as they hammer and bang their way through their set list. Matt describes how they strive to "create a feeling like a party rather than some sterile show environment," such as how they use lighting to create a more interactive performance. They want all of the guests to mingle and get to know each other, which, along with the balloons and glitter, supplemented the controlled chaos that was the party - or show - at Hayward.

Matt continued to passionately describe how he sees fans not as drudges serving his musical mandate, but as equals: "It's not like 'light us, we are the band, we are the entertainment and you are the audience.' We're all here making a show fun." Artists like Kanye West who demand respect from their audience are quickly dethroned from that respect. Conversely, Matt and Kim interact with each other and the crowd as one and let the resulting energy spiral into a chain reaction of ecstasy and bliss.

This honest interaction can be something bands forgetfully pin to their mirrors, focusing rather on creating a stage persona that may not convey how they truly feel. Matt felt that if performers spent less time "sitting in front of their mirrors with their guitars on and making faces until they find their stage face, usually a really boring look," and more time conveying their emotions, it would lead to a more lively, engaging and overall kick ass experience.

There are many bands that could benefit from walking away from the "fame-mirror" and becoming more connected to their fan base, as loyal fans will give back more than any pretentious reflection. Whether it's playing small, inexpensive shows such as Hayward ($11 a ticket!) or staying after every concert to talk to the attendees, Matt and Kim know that keeping a strong bond with their audience will ultimately be the shining factor of their success, which will manifest itself in a dazzling glare of glitz and pop when they take over Oakland's Fox Theater on June 18th. Don't be afraid if your reflection scares you; just embrace the state of frenzied excitement that comes from the sheer positive energy and booty-dance inducing fun that is a Matt and Kim show.

Do the booty dance with Ian at [email protected]

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