REVIEW: Matt & Kim make a comeback at the Warfield

Matt and Kim, Matt & Kim

Photos: Kate Vides

SAN FRANCISCO — “Kim is back! Kim is back!” Matt Johnson hollored as the singer-keyboardist and his partner, drummer Kim Schifino, returned to the road and brought their show to the Warfield Tuesday, nearly a year following Schifino’s traumatic on-stage knee injury.

Matt & Kim are an overwhelmingly energetic alt-rock duo. The spunky band incites fans to run into each other at full speed, remove their shirts and dance uncontrollably. The married couple’s sense of self-deprecating humor awkwardly invites fans right into their personal life. “I wanna start this off like Kim likes it in the bedroom, which is really fast and really hard,” Johnson declared as he introduced second song, “Let’s Make a Mess.”

Matt & Kim’s 75-minute set steamrolled through about 15 tracks (including three off forthcoming album Almost Everyday) and snippets of numerous reimagined covers like AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck,” Drake, Duck Sauce’s “Barbra Streisand,” Van Halen’s “Jump,” 50 Cent and Rihanna’s “Umbrella.”

“Umbrella” ended in an a capella sing-along. The two said “Barbra Streisand” was getting its first attempt on stage. Their song “Block After Block was interlaced with snippets of Drake’s “Started From the Bottom.”

The show was one continuous sugar rush from the opening notes of set opener “It’s Alright” to “Hey Now,” “Forever” and “Now,” eventually cliamxing with “Daylight” and “Let’s Go.”

The duo performed on a small raised platform at the lip of the stage. The effect shrank the room, making it more intimate. During new track “Like I Used to Be,” Matt & Kim split the crowd in two. But instead of the traditional “which side of the room can sing the best” contest, the duo introduced their “wall of death,” and had the two sides ram into one another at full speed, creating a huge mosh pit the size of the entire floor.

Along with the music, the duo entertained the crowd with a variety of stunts. Schifino threw handfuls of balloons for fans to inflate while Johnson launched confetti into the crowd. Later in the show Schifino brought out two giant colorful dildos, waved them around and began to pound away with them on her tom drum. The duo encouraged the audience to sit on each other’s shoulders during “I See Ya,” to “be dicks” and push to the front, crowdsurf, and at one point, to take off their shirts. Fans complied with all of these requests.


Twinkids perform at The Warfield in San Francisco on April 3, 2018.

Before Schifino’s knee injury, she would routinely step into the crowd, literally walking on the hands and shoulders of fans. She was clearly more cautious of her every move Tuesday at the Warfield, never placing her feet where she couldn’t see. She stayed on stage, never making a bigger step than standing atop her kickdrum. But in the grand scheme of things the excitement shown by fans didn’t decrease by one iota.

Electronic R&B duo Twinkids opened the show with a 20-minute set of tracks that ranged from ambient to poppy. Vocalist Gene Fukui and synth player-singer Matt Young bounced vocals back and forth, sometimes singing together, sometimes over each other. From time to time, they would also fold in lyrics in Japanese.


CRUISR performs at The Warfield in San Francisco on April 3, 2018.

“I was born in Japan and lived there for the first 18 years of my life. J-Pop is a huge influence,” Fukui said, before launching into a cover of “The Wind Rises,” from a classic Kaze Tachinu film.

Philadelphia pop quartet CRUISR performed an intense and lively 40-minute set leading up to Matt & Kim. The band’s sound ranged from bouncy indie pop on tracks like “Moving Up to Neptune” to angular post-punk on “Throw Shade.” Throughout, there would be call-backs to the sound of The 1975, with high guitar-plucking syncopated with with lower-end bass.

One of CRUISR’s highlights was a new tune called “Opening Up,” which vocalist Andy States introduced as being about new love following a tragic heartbreak. The song featured glitchy synths during the chorus that recalled a sound similar to Passion Pit.

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