Matt & Kim were coming to Chicago again, and this time I had no prior plans or obligations to stand in the way of finally meeting the dynamic duo from Brooklyn and partaking in the madness that is their live show. When I arrived to the Metro via the Shure mobile (of course), the line had already begun to take shape… it was an hour before the doors would even open.
With the help of my trusty communication module, I made contact with Will People, front-of-house engineer, who came out to the front of the venue to escort me to the stage area where we could further discuss sound guy things like microphones and monitors and… you know just kind of geek it out a bit. Cool. I was able to get a real up close look at the Matt & Kim set-up: a few keyboards and a drum kit, seemingly on top of one another while sharing a single drum riser. The Shure mics filled in the spaces in between: a couple of Beta 58As on vocals, a Beta 52A on kick, some Beta 98s on toms, and a handful of SM57s on amps and snare drum. That’s pretty much it, nothing too complicated; your basic rock set-up.
Matt & Kim are also recent adapters of the PSM 900 in-ear personal monitor system, and that’s also become a staple of their live show. Hearing them for the first time, they both wondered how they ever got through without them, especially playing so loudly and so close together. I think its safe to say they truly appreciate the ability to actually hear themselves at a comfortable volume and save their ears a little bit.
At around 6pm, the doors to the club opened up and the masses waiting outside were allowed to come in and jockey for position at the foot of the stage. It was at about this time when legendary photographer Paul Natkin and myself were escorted to the band’s tour bus to conduct an interview with Matt & Kim before their sold-out show. After almost a year of talking on the phone, via twitter and e-mail, Matt and Kim and I finally got to meet. With a new album due out in about a month and a tour that seems to sell out by the time the band makes it to the venue that day, Matt & Kim are undoubtedly conducting a lot of interviews. Ours was pretty cool, too… besides, I don’t think too many interviewers ask the band about microphones and in-ear personal monitors. That being said, our interview is a WORLD EXCLUSIVE! We’ll let you know when it goes live on our MySpace page, stay tuned.
Alright, so show time was fast approaching and Paul made his way into the photo pit to capture the moment , and I headed upstairs to a balcony table and chairs provided by the Metro’s Joe Shanahan (thanks Joe!). Looking around the venue, this was a clear sell out from top to bottom; there were people covering every square inch of the place! The emotion at the Metro reached a fever pitch and you could almost feel that the show was about to begin… and then it did.
Matt & Kim rushed the stage like they were 5-year-old kids at recess, jumping up and down and high-five-ing anyone within hand slapping distance while “Where Brooklyn At?” by Notorious BIG was booming through the house PA; the crowd went banana sandwich! Taking their rightful places behind their instruments, M&K got things going with “I Wanna” from their album Grand.
Watching from the balcony above, it was non-stop jumping and crowd surfing below… I think I even saw someone dressed as Spider Man floating above the crowd, being tossed from one end of the room to the other. Matt & Kim did not let the intensity go for one second, even in between song banter was full of energy. When the moment seemed right, and the crowd vibe felt good, a cover song or three were thrown in for added pleasure. Most notably, the band pulled off “Better Off Alone” by Alice Deejay quite nicely, and the crowd had fun singing along to “Just A Friend” by The Diabolical Biz Markie. All in all, this was a concert that was well worth the price of admission kids.
As they blazed through the highlights from both of their albums, they were just about out of songs, when the beginning riff to “Daylight” was slowly being played by Matt. The crowd seemingly waited with bated breath and then Matt & Kim ripped into their most famous song to date, leaving the place in utter chaos.
Honestly, it was the most fun I had at a concert in a long time, but man did it make me tired watching it! The kids from Brooklyn give it everything they have when they hit that stage, giving everyone just what they came for. As they thanked the crowd for coming out, “Empire State Of Mind” by Jay-Z began to play through the house PA and Matt & Kim hit the crowd with hugs and high-fives all over again. Gratitude is awesome. Thanks Matt & Kim!