Scattered groups of people lingered on the blocked off Cardinal Boulevard. Students took advantage of the spacious street, strolling between restaurants and bobbing their heads to local Louisville bands like DJ Glitter Titz and Twin Limbs.
Towards the stage, two students argued about the main act later to come.
“But the keyboard is crucial as f*ck.”
“Dude, the keyboard makes up like two percent of what is going on—it’s all about the drums.”
Thirty minutes before show time, and the venue space grew denser. Fewer people looked at their phones. Instead, they bounced on the balls of their feet, chattering with friends who were also finding to ways to burn off impatience.
College residents leaned into the screens of their open apartment windows, observing the crowd below. A few were on Cardinal Towne’s roof, forearms rested on the balcony railing. One guy dangled a dark green glass bottle, occasionally taking a drink.
After Twin Limbs closing song, the stage crew immediately moved a platform with a drum set and a keyboard that read “MATT AND KIM,” to the edge of the stage.
Ten minutes before showtime, the cramped street roared, “Matt-and-Kim! Matt-and-Kim!”
“We have a goner,” says one of the many posted security guards.
For a moment, crowd murmurs hint there might have been a drug overdose.
“Oh it’s just two people fighting?” one student brushes off to his friend, underplaying the violence that’s occurring somewhere unreachable by security guards.
“I’m just ready for Matt and Kim,” he finishes saying.
At 8:28 p.m., the “Matt and Kim,” chant grew even louder.
Another college student turns to his friend, “When do you think Ma—”
Interrupted at exactly 8:30 p.m., as promised, a boom of red lights charged the stage accompanied by a blend the of two songs, “Thuderstuck,” by AC/DC and “Pop That,” by French Montana.
Matt Johnson leapt onto stage in all of three motions, chucking t-shirts and confetti. Drummer Kim Schifino followed, twerking on her drums.
After the first five minutes of their hyper energetic introduction, Johnson said, “I heard y’all chanting ‘Matt and Kim’ and I thought, ‘Louisville has that fihhh-yerr!”
Kim interjected, “I can’t even tell you how badly I needed this show tonight!”
They both screamed into the microphones, “Louisville… Y’ALL READY?!”
On Oct. 16 the Student Activities Board shot off homecoming week with the Brooklyn natives “Matt and Kim.” Thousands of students lined up to “fully crotch jump,” as the duo put it.
Couple Johnson and Schifino formed their group in 2004, but they reached Billboard success in 2008 with their indie-pop single, “Daylight.” They have a total of five studio albums, including a remix of their 2012 album “Lightening.”
Over the years they have transitioned their brand. Once considered the darlings of hipster music, they have shifted their focus onto the liveliness of their concerts. In 2011, Matt and Kim won the MTV award “Best Live Bands” to see.
In an earlier interview, U of L SAB member Katie Olson commented on what to expect from Friday’s show.
“It’s such an experience. Not only do they play their own songs but they take breaks in between and play trap music. Their music isn’t a specific genre. No one’s really going to hate it unless they just hate to have fun.”
The only thing traditional about them may be their set list—a foolproof lineup of their top hits, “classic Matt and Kim” songs and a mix of today’s best house music.
The show included their songs “Overexposed, Hey Now, Block After Block, Let’s Go, Don’t Slow Down, Get it and Hoodie On,” as well songs from other artist like Rihanna’s “B*tch Better Have My Money,” Biz Markie’s “Just a Friend” and songs from Magic Mike II.
It wouldn’t be a Matt and Kim show without Schifino twerking on her drums and fan hands. The two also gave a humorous (and overdue) shoutout to the street’s neighboring company, Laundry and Tan Connection.
The U of L student body responded with love for Matt and Kim after the show, by tweeting the live experience:
“Life goals: being @mattandkim. Best show this year. #Louisville” —@ccarolinekruer
“Can’t even begin to describe how amazing this @mattandkim show was! They are welcome back to Louisville anytime!”—@meowsloan
“@mattandkim killed it tonight. Seriously one of the best nights. I’ve waited 6 years for this.”—@maackenzziie
“Hey @mattandkim thanks for giving me the opportunity to crowd surf again”—@malachischockley.
Schockley’s crowd surfing was the start of a slight rebellion against the event’s security. Security guards stood in a space between the front row and the stage on full alert for wrong-doers. Most of the time they stood with hands behind their backs, scanning the crowd as deeply as their eyes would let them. Suddenly, deep within the pit, Schockley was drifting atop the heaped bodies. Once again, the guards took position on the small platforms placed on the dividing side. Security yelled at Schockley to “get down! Get down!”
Coincidentally Matt and Kim were playing their song “Get Down,” and it didn’t take the student body long to realize the opportunity presented. Soon enough students were chanting along with the song “Get down!” to the security guards obstructing their view.
It may have been a university safety hazard if there was no enforcement of suspected “dangerous” actions such as Schockley’s, but that didn’t stop other students from defending his perceived right to have fun.
Matt and Kim have been known to encourage crowd surfing, but during the show they hardly beckoned fans to crowd surf their way to the front. Matt only jokingly proposed the idea that someone should jump from Cardinal Towne’s roof to “make the most epic stage dive ever.” He shortly followed with “just kidding, I don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
U of L student and Twitter user @thecootiemaster poked fun at those who doubted the free concert, “Everyone on yik yak saying nobody was gonna come to Matt and Kim lol try 3000 people showing up.”
There wasn’t a bad seat in the house. Whether your gut was pressed against the front row railing, you were in the middle of the mosh pit or taking a more relaxed view from the roof of Cardinal Towne, you saw Matt and Kim devote their show to fans having fun with the audience. It was an all-in-this-together feeling with, of course, lots of sex jokes and encouraged head banging.
Students took home Matt and Kim’s latest t-shirts and confetti poppers, thrown into the crowd by Johnson and Schifino. If the two slowed downed their show, it was only for one song. Schifino asked their light guy Dustin to “turn off all the lights, and you guys turn on your cell phones so we can see your beautiful faces!” Their performance style is as physical as it is musical. The two have a tightly wound chemistry enjoyed by audiences because they are let in on the duo’s personal stories of touring, sex and relationships, and even brief interactions with Kayne West.
“So I look and he (West) writes, ‘Man, the drums on this Matt and Kim song ‘Daylight’ are stupid.’ I don’t know how I feel about that,” Johnson said over a mass of booing and yelling.
“It had me feelin’ all kinds of ways! Kayne West wrote about a song we wrote, but he’s saying that song is stupid. So I was like ‘Kim, I’m tweeting back!’ So I tweet back, ‘Kayne you better be saying those drums are perfect because those drums are f*cking perfect,” Johsnon continued.
“Kim was worried that I was starting sh*t with Kayne West, but when all was said and done, Kayne tweets back, ‘And by stupid, I mean stooop-id good.’”
Johnson and Schifino shake their heads, and laugh, “So here’s a little song we wrote one time called, ‘Daylight.’”
They finished with their beloved first single from 2008. U of L students tried for an encore with chants of, “one-more-song,” but the two left the little block of Cardinal Boulevard following the show. Some fans were able to catch them on their way out, taking pictures and posting them to social media. Until their next stop in Louisville, they gave students one hell of a start to homecoming week.
Check out Friday night’s video’s on Louisvillecardinal.com and a full week of homecoming events at UofLSAB.org.
Photo by Samantha Crowder / The Louisville Cardinal