Smile Politely

Matt & Kim reel in MTV award and roll out the party

Matt and Kim

Perhaps it was the overflow of excitement from learning minutes before taking the stage that they won the 2009 MTV Video Music Award for Breakthrough Video, but one would be hard pressed to wipe the hyperactive, mile-long smiles of off Matt and Kim’s faces any night of the week.

Needless to say, electro-pop duo Matt and Kim’s free show at Parkland College turned up the already-on-eleven spastic excitement of their live performances one louder.

After a nefarious opening from Chicago MC’s Yea Big & Kid Static, whose high-brow brand of Midwestern rap features such classy refrains as “Bitch, eat yo sandwich,” the 200+ people in the crowd had no trouble getting into the jump-around mood for the evening. With songs about video games and novelty name-dropping, Yea Big & Kid Static will forever be trapped in the abominable nerd-rap category, which is hardly a respectable category more akin to bad sketch comedy.

But kudos to Yea Big & Kid Static for effectively (but perhaps only technically or logistically) remixing Roy Orbison’s “Crying” with Missy Misdemeanor Elliot’s “Get Ur Freak On” during their opening stretch. The next 45 minutes were entirely downhill musically, though the energy of the crowd would certainly argue otherwise.

When Matt and Kim took the stage shortly after 8 p.m., the vibe stayed strong while representing Brooklyn to the max by dropping Notorious B.I.G.’s “Where Brooklyn At” and the infallible ODB’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya” throughout the set.

After announcing to the crowd their recent Video Music Award win, they promised to a delighted audience that they would play until the plug got pulled. So for the majority of the next hour, drummer Kim Schifino grinned ear-to-ear as Matt Johnson’s hundreds of fist pumps were met two-fold by hundreds more in the audience.

Matt and Kim

They played through the requisite hits including “Daylight,” “Good Ol’ Fashion Nightmare,” and “Lessons Learned,” for which they received the Breakthrough Video Award, all the while the audience of teens and pre-teens singing at the top of their lungs. The icing on the cake, it seemed, was the inclusion of synth novelty songs like Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part 2” and Europe’s “Final Countdown,” which in many ways epitomized their rise to fame via social networking tools like YouTube and Twitter for internet lackeys with attention-deficit disorders that think an MTV Award is the holy grail of musicianship.

Matt and Kim are definitely onto something, though, as evidenced through their MTV presence. Comparisons to the White Stripes, sexually and musically, are unavoidable, but that is where Matt and Kim depart from the duo formula. Where the White Stripes look backwards into classic rock, and where duos like Death From Above 1979 work inwards, Matt and Kim look entirely forward combining dance pop elements with a certain kind of Carpenters annoyance.

A lot can be said of the two people, but you can’t say they aren’t a party, albeit a high school party. As they closed out the show, they urged fans to contact them via Twitter for post-show award celebrations. As of midnight, they received invitations to house parties, to smoke blunts and to gorge on half-price appetizers at Applebee’s.

Matt and Kim

Let’s hope they’re still reeling from the celebration.

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