I don't know if it's me getting older or more curmudgeonly or something, but Matt and Kim are one of those bands that I tend to only enjoy in smaller intervals. I like their music well enough; it's just that the slew of twee mixed-gender pairs in indie-pop , while enjoyable and charming, has reached a personal saturation point for me. (waves at Ting Tings, Mates of State, Submarines... you get the point)
Nonetheless, a Matt and Kim show at least promises a fun night of poppy party music, and their show at Subterranean last Tuesday didn't disappoint in that respect. The pair has enough energy and good humor on their own to pump up any crowd, but this near-capacity audience seemed especially jubilant, even well after the show's 9 p.m. start time. (This was to be the first of a two-night set, but the second show was cancelled, so I suspect many of the Wednesday night audience just elected to show up here.)
Apparently the duo felt like they had a lot to prove, themselves. Between songs early in the set, drummer Kim Schifino mentioned that outside of their home base of Brooklyn, Chicago sets make her the most nervous. "because we have so many friends here and I don't want them to call us out." Not that they had anything to worry about, the capacity crowd seemed quite eager to embrace the band (and their many openers.) They were patient and good humored through local emcee Hollywood Holt's technical difficulties, and they were enthusiastic for - even while occasionally confused by - the absurdist, backing track inspired performance from Texas-based Best Fwends.
And when Matt and Kim took the stage, the crowd seemed to get an extra surge of energy (on a school night!) bouncing, moshing and crowdsurfing the whole night, as familiar with new tracks as well as they were with their more well-known releases like "Yeah yea" and "5k." That's a rariety, I think, for many Chicago indie rock shows (particularly 21+ shows and their oft-impassive crowds) but not necessarily for Matt and Kim, who seem to attract fans who won't turn down a chance to get down. For that reason in particular, they're worth checking out.