Matt And Kim at Reverb in Toronto

Matt and Kim's Lessons Earned

Matt and Kim know how to play to their audience. The duo singer/keyboardist Matt and drummer Kim kept up the energy throughout their 75-minute set, getting the crowd more hyped with each song Thursday night at Reverb.

Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino have some catchy tunes, even if they all sound pretty similar. What Matt lacks in vocal range he more than makes up for in enthusiasm. Which is what really counts when playing to a raucous, all-ages crowd.

"My first time in Toronto was when I was 11 or 12 years old," shouted Matt, a few songs into the set. "It looks like some of you are only 11 or 12."

Indeed, this was one of the youngest crowds I've ever seen at a Toronto concert. I didn't even mind them shouting along to all the songs this time, unlike the Regina Spektor show a couple of weeks ago.

Matt And Kim at Reverb in Toronto

Kim's frenetic drumming and infectious smile lit up the stage as much as the bands of cheesy lights behind them.

Matt And Kim at Reverb in Toronto

Meanwhile, Matt constantly lunged forward from his keyboard, egging on the crowd to bop around even more vigorously to songs like Yea Yeah, Daylight and the popular Lessons Learned.

Matt And Kim at Reverb in Toronto

There was some serious energy in the place.

Matt And Kim at Reverb in Toronto

Before too long someone was hoisted in the air and began crowd surfing. At one point, someone even got to stage dive into the awaiting arms of the packed crowd.

Matt And Kim at Reverb in Toronto

I found it oddly fitting to hear a cover of Europe's cheesy The Final Countdown song towards the end of their set. I bet most of their fans thought it was another one of Matt and Kim's songs.

The opening act, fellow Brooklynites Ninjasonik, didn't impress me much. Two guys pranced about on stage like clowns with microphones while a DJ spun mediocre mash-ups. Yawn.

Ninjasonik at Reverb in Toronto

They tried to lip-synch and rap along, adding flavour to the beats, but their stage antics just reminded me of amateurish junior high school talent nights.

Ninjasonik at Reverb in Toronto

At one point the DJ played the start of Michael Jackson's Thriller and I expected them to bust a move. But they just struck a pose and looked glum.

Maybe you've got to be drunk, stoned or 16 (or all three) to fully appreciate them.

Ninjasonik at Reverb in Toronto

One of the guys' pants hung way below his waist as he took to the mic, addressing the crowd. I half-expected them to fall down to his ankles and flash the crowd as part of their act.

Photos by Roger Cullman.


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