Producer David Newfeld (Broken Social Scene, Los Campesinos!) harnessed this gracefulness with subtle flourishes. "David would suggest we add a third guitar part here or a harmony there, but it doesn't really sound like that much more is going on," says Malerman. "It's more of a mood than a million things going on at once."Todd McKenzie
9 p.m. Friday, March 13. The Firebird, 2706 Olive Street. $8 21-plus, $10 under 21. 314-535-0353. Whether playing tiny loft spaces or rocking summer festival crowds, Brooklyn duo Matt & Kim has developed a reputation for its unabashedly enthusiastic live show. As lead singer/keyboardist Matt Johnson bashes out short, sharp, new-wavy melodies, drummer Kim Schifino pounds her minimal drum kit with an ever-present grin. There's simply no other band having this much obvious fun playing music.

Mike Appelstein:  As you play bigger shows, do you have to change your approach?

Matt Johnson: I remember fearing that as we were going in to play our first festivals. I just wondered how it was going to go with barricades twenty feet away. But we just did what we always do, which was just be honest, crack jokes and be dorky as if we were playing in a basement somewhere. And the response has been amazing! We play a simple type of music, and I think it's easy to project that in a big space as well as a small, crowded space.

How do you prepare for shows?

We basically just want to have a party; we play Top 40 hip-hop and stuff like that between bands. That just sets up the whole night appropriately. We try to set up a fun atmosphere overall. Like we've been bringing this guy on tour with us, Hollywood Holt. He's a rapper but absolutely nuts, and gets everyone excited. It's like genre doesn't matter as long as the energy is in the right place.

When you're recording, do you have the live shows in mind?  Or is the record something else entirely?

With Grand we tried to make the best recorded album we could. But my favorite live and recorded bands are very different. I listen to hip-hop because the production is so interesting and exciting, but when I go to punk-rock shows, people are stage-diving and tearing the walls down. But that's not necessarily the music I put on my stereo at home.— Mike Appelstein
9 p.m. Tuesday, March 17. The Gargoyle, on the campus of Washington University at Forsyth and Skinker boulevards. Sold out. 314-935-5917.

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