Show Review: Matt & Kim @ The Orange Peel

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Monday, April 20, 2015: the sun was darting between the darkest rain clouds, my best friend drove two hours to spend the day with me in Asheville, and I had two tickets for the Matt and Kim show at the Orange Peel.

If you have heard Matt and Kim’s music even only once, you know that they sound like a rainbow that drank a lot of coffee, got on a bus to Times Square, and then exploded upon its arrival. I mean that in the best way. They are upbeat and perpetually excited, with a slight edge. I don’t think they’ve ever heard a slow song, much less written one.

Matt and Kim are an indie pop duo from Brooklyn, New York. The band consists of Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino, hence the name Matt and Kim. Matt plays the synth, a little guitar, and does most of the vocals. Kim plays the drums and does vocals on occasion. They just released their fifth album, “New Glow.” They are romantically involved, but I had no idea until Matt mentioned it at the show. Probably because they have no love songs.

Never have I ever been a part of anything like the show Matt and Kim put on at The Orange Peel. There was more crowd involvement than I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure what I was expecting. I am having a hard time putting the experience into words, so here are pictures and comments…

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The first thing that happened was confetti. One song in and suddenly I was surrounded by tiny bits of tissue.

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Then they put us to work. Matt threw un-inflated balloons into the audience and had everyone blow up what they caught. Obviously, these were for throwing around. And popping terrifyingly under your feet.

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Matt pulled out a guitar and told us it was the first time he had ever played guitar on stage… I have my doubts about this, but it sure got a lot of positive crowd feedback.

I have to admit, what Kim said next was something I’ve never heard an artist say. Kim told everyone to push as close as they could to the stage. This, of course, resulted in physical pressure from all sides. From strangers.

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I’m not sure what that picture is. I took it in an attempt to capture what it felt like to forcibly pushed around due to all the dancing and pushing-closer-to-the-stage.

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As I’m sure you can imagine, things and people got shifted around a lot during all of this excitement. What I didn’t consider is that some audience members may have room to remove underclothing. Kim picked up a stray bra and promptly put it on over her clothes.

To begin to wind things down, The band brought out a 40-foot parachute.

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We were told to try to fit under it and run in circles. I am not sure why.

When the parachute was put away, They encouraged people to crowd surf. This is actually the first time I’ve witnessed audience folk crowd surfing. Many of the surfers were dropped…

To end the show on an exciting note, Kim had everyone raise their hands and hold them flat.

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She walked about 10 feet into the audience on raised hands. No one dropped her, to my relief.

Matt and Kim put on a truly unforgettable carnival of a show. While all of the crowd involvement was fun and at times, shocking, it took a bit of focus off of the music. They mostly played songs from “New Glow,” but managed to work in popular favorites like “Daylight” and “Let’s Go” (which are excellent additions to a running playlist.) I would have liked to have been able to really listen and not to have had to worry so much about getting stepped on or suffocated. Then again, I don’t think it is the intention of Matt and Kim for people to close their eyes and enjoy the music for what it is. I think a Matt and Kim show is meant for totally wearing you out and leaving you voiceless, bruised, and jittery.

Here’s a taste of their sound if you can’t put a beat to my visuals: