Matt & Kim at the Riviera or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Mosh Pit

There are few shows that are as exciting or memorable as Matt and Kim shows. Every time I’ve seen them live it’s not only been a worthwhile experience, but one that is significantly better than the last. Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino just know how to make any venue, audience, and atmosphere into one of a ridiculous party with everyone moshing in someone’s barely furnished basement. This past Tuesday at Riviera Theatre, alongside Future Feats and Tokyo Police Club, Matt and Kim accomplished that task with another wild show.

Future Feats, the formerly Chicago based project of singer songwriter Josh, started off the night with their brand of anthemic indie pop. Despite having interviewed Josh earlier this week, I was caught off guard by his manic and energetic performance. From the acoustic and gentle demos where the dark lyrics are front and center to their exuberant New Wave tinged studio versions where the substance of the songs sneaks up on you, the live performance cranked it up much higher than I exited. Josh was a blur throughout: dashing across the stage, jumping on speakers, running through the photo pit. At times it felt like a little bit too much to handle, never fully knowing where to keep your focus. Some of the punch I got from the songs was swallowed by the maximalist live performance. However I feel that is part of the point of the contrast with in the songs: lose yourself to the music while Josh is expelling all personal stories.

Like a good playlist, there were ebbs and flows to keep the crowd going. After the high energy of Future Feats came Tokyo Police Club, taking the middle spot with a much more relaxed and chilled out performance. Vocalist and bassist David Monks carried himself with a detached coolness, powering through Tokyo Police Club’s . He let the band’s music speak for itself, but there were spots where the reserved presentation felt a little lacking. However, when intensity was called for like in “You’re Not My Girl”, Monks and crew delivered.

Then it came time for Matt and Kim and everyone lost their mind. If I’m being honest, it took two songs for the crowd to fully accept that they were at a Matt and Kim show. It’s not surprising; the pair evokes shock and awe that can leave you just wanting to watch their onstage antic despite your body pleading with you to get wild. “It’s Alright” and “Make a Mess” warmed up the crowd before they went for broke during “Hey Now”, where the moshing, dancing, and never ending questioning of “Yo, let me get on your shoulders” from this lanky sweaty dude I never met before that night truly began. Normally I’m more reserved at how, but that simply won’t stand at a Matt and Kim show. While I didn’t let the guy get up on my shoulders, I did stop worrying about everything and danced/moshed with the best of them.

At one point, Matt made the usual declaration that they wouldn’t be focusing on playing new songs. Aside from joking that they still need to learn how to play them live, I think Matt and Kim’s philosophy on shows is that they are meant to parties and you can’t party to songs you don’t already know by heart. So in keeping to their word, the pair only played the two lead singles off of Almost Everyday, “Forever” and Like I Used To”. The rest of the set touched upon the rest of their discography, minus their self-titled debut, with some excellent picks throughout. The crowd ate up early career tracks like “Lessons Learned” and the proper set’s finisher “Daylight”, but the clear stars were jams off of New Glow and Lightning which took up half the setlist.

Despite a year off due to Kim’s torn ACL, Matt and Kim haven’t lost a step. The musical couple where all smiles throughout the set, genuinely have a good a time as their fans were. They jammed out just as hard ans those of us in the crowd during the interstitial breaks playing “Plain Jane” or the “In Da Club vs. Daylight” mashup. Kim was still jumping onto her drum kit and doing her thing, which consisted of dancing, shaking her butt at the crowd, slamming huge dildos on the drums, and just in general riling up the crowd. Matt bounced around their slightly elevated stage ramping up the audience as well, hitting a particularly adorable note as he danced to a “Bohemian Rhapsody vs. The Next Episode” mashup. They only ever slowed things down once during “I See Ya”, where Matt stepped away from the keys and let Kim take them over as he sang the ballad.

Everything else was a straight out, beautiful mess of bodies dancing and flailing around in the crowd. Whether it was hearkening back to their hardcore days and setting up a Wall of Death (re-titled as Kim’s Vaginal Walls) or throwing a sign with a GoPro attached to it into the crowd, it all felt like a blast! Having declared the show to be BYOD (bring your own dick) on their Instagram story, I expected Matt and Kim to be greeted with a fleet of inflatable phallus (phallusi, phalluses?) in the Riviera. Alas, only a single inflatable dick was present, but much to Matt and Kim’s pleasure. They added their own inflatables to the show including blowup dolls, a oversized Firecracker pop, and regular old balloons that filled the room.

They finished off the night with a few more songs to satiate the crowd. A trap remix of the Isley Brother’s “Shout” blared through the speakers before Matt and Kim dove into “Please No More”. The people at the Riviera had no plans on letting their energy diminish as they popped hard for a quick cover of “HUMBLE.” that transitioning into the final and appropriately positioned “Let’s Go”. As the inflatable dick soared above me and the blow up dolls bounced on my head while my own body got jostled around the floor accumulating a bruise or two, I couldn’t help but quietly remark: “This was a great show”.

All photos were taken from the mosh pit by Kayla Fernandez and Julian Ramirez

Julian Ramirez
Julian Ramirez