September 30, 2010
Better than: Richard Linklater's Before Sunset," but probably just as good as "Before Sunrise."
Smiley-faced popsters Matt and Kim
are the houseguests everybody wants -- they compliment the digs, they tell interesting and funny stories about what they've been up to, they indulge in the beauty of your city, they really want to have a good time, and they even leave you with a parting gift.
Even when they jump on the furniture and play tunes about their own home city, you forgive them because, well, they're really effing charming.
So when the duo spilled out onto the sold-out Fillmore floor after their discography-spanning Thursday night set, it made a lot of sense that the fans didn't want to let them run off to their next city, instead mobbing and hugging and kissing and photographing the Brooklyners. Don't be a stranger!
The have-a-more-than-nice-day lovefest was reciprocal. Vocalist/keyboardist and Daniel Tosh/Jimmy Fallon hybrid Matt Johnson and infinitely smiling drummer Kim Schifino seem to have an ongoing thing with S.F., where they first played to "three people at Rock, Paper, Scissors Club" years ago, probably before they recorded the song they were introducing, "Silver Tiles," from 2005's To/From.
Johnson began by paying his respects to The Fillmore and its ghosts, namely Dave Chappelle and his "For What It's Worth" pantheon-worthy comedy special (which foreshadowed many a comic relief moments from last night, including a great story about Coachella and a naked stage-crasher and a now-registered-sex-offender, which may or may not have inspired this
Aside from their loveable and contagious chemistry, Matt and Kim have a savvy understanding of how to juice every drop of energy from the crowd. Like a couple of traveling fishing pole salesman, they sell their hooks with local spin and stand-on-a-stool showmanship. Hey you there, blow this balloon up and make it fly! (True story).
But it's all genuine, to be super positively, absolutely sure, and it's all absolute positivity, to be surer. Yes, affirmative. YES! Never no. Make sense? Doesn't matter, it's a party. That Ol Dirty Bastard on the PA? Let's hear it for New York!
That's what ya do when your body of work barely fills an hour; you fill in the gaps. Matt played the piano man on hip-hop and R&B jams, while Kim crowd-skated upright. Kim played drums while Matt climbed the stage lighting equipment. Kids having fun, these two.
Admittedly, the band's songbook made an encore sound like an exercise of "guess what we haven't played yet." Matt and Kim played songs from their soon-to-be-released album Sidewalks (due out Nov. 2) to congenial reception (how odd to hear the crowd not singing along for a second).
And no matter how jaded you fancy yourself, it was hard not to get a sentimental hard-on for "Daylights" (apparently their YouTube video
has been getting some play), which closed and sent the crowd into the nightlight with a poster.
Fang Island: This pennant-winning, Faustian bargain of a band is all glory and crescendo all the time. The five-piece Brooklyn-by-way-of-Rhode Island guitar orgy dishes out anthemic choruses and solos without ever asking its listeners to wait for it. And why should we? It's 2010 and we want our payoff now. Think Ratatat jamming with Architecture in Helsinki, where a virtuoso guitarist is just a statistic.
We heard there was a drum procession, and we thought of the night some six years ago The Decemberists parted the crowd and marched out of the Great American Music Hall like a marching band. Limousines is fine stuff
Overheard in the crowd: "So, are they, like, a couple?"
Random notebook dump: Yes, Kim drops the occasional F-bomb, but the show was a family affair. Matt told us midway through the set that his parents were at the show, sitting in the balcony, and how could we not believe him? He then dedicated "Lightspeed" to his 10-year-old cousin, who sang the national anthem at the Giants game the night before. Maybe some day, Matty boy, you'll get the big league call up.