Matt & Kim’s Tour Offers Party Mix of DL.3s, SHOWPIX

Indie rock duo tours with HES gear

It’s a dance party if you’re at a Matt & Kim show. From tiny crowded clubs to full-on festivals such as Bonnaroo, Matt & Kim’s tour keeps the energy levels high off the charts and crowds out of their seats and on their feet dancing.

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The indie rock duo of Matt Johnson on vocals/keyboards and Kim Schifino on vocals/drums carry a simple but festive production to support their third CD, Sidewalks. Designed by LD Marc Janowitz, the show encourages extreme audience interaction.

Balloons and confetti are part of the mix. Extra party punch comes with the addition of 2 High End Systems DL.3 digital light fixtures and 4 SHOWPIX pixelation luminaires pulsing their LED patterns to the beat of the lively music.

“Fun!” was the design theme. “Matt and Kim are energetic,” Janowitz said. “They get the crowd rocking. They wanted graphics and motion and they like the audience to be lit the whole time. Also, as a duet they sit close together at center stage. I wanted the design to highlight them and create a feeling of emanation. Most of the light surrounds them and flows out.”

Lighting Operator Jackie Finney is running the show. The design features one riser, moved as far downstage as possible to let the duo connect with the audience. Two DL.3s project on the backdrop. Each DL.3 shoots half the backdrop and Collages at center. The image is mapped to the backdrop artwork, which displays a negative photo image of Brooklyn to reflect the band’s roots. Janowitz selected mostly unrecognizable images, shapes and patterns to match well with the SHOWPIX graphic content.

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“The SHOWPIX are a great accent to the overall look of the show being that they are so large and intense,” Finney said. “They can provide much movement or a back lit glow to the band; when they start to strobe, the crowd goes wild! The band makes their crowd a part of their show by having everyone blow up balloons and throw them in the air at the same time while the rig is just going crazy.”

Janowitz likes the multi-functioning power of SHOWPIX. “It can be a large faced solid light but then there's so much fun graphic ability. I wanted a fixture with multiple uses that could also be a display at the same time. SHOWPIX are used throughout in almost every song. Sometimes they operate as large wash lights; other times they serve as eye candy with graphics or the text generator.”

Finney raved over the text generator. To rouse the crowds, especially during encores, she’ll display the words MATT+KIM or the song title “Yea Yeah,” and even PAC-MAN and Ms. PAC-MAN graphics. “There are always smiles all around. It's a fun way to personalize the show.”


Matt & Kim both sing, but during instrumental tunes, Finney turns off the front light and lets the SHOWPIX take over. In those moments, she said, “The SHOWPIX are so intense, even at just 7 percent that I am able to give them a beautiful back lit silhouette look that I can strobe or give an intensity effect and make a great look for a song without use of much else. The fixtures remind me of old school Nintendo with their almost 8-bit quality to them, which is a perfect match for this particular tour.”

Janowitz specified the Road Hog Full Boar, saying that the Wholehog line was his “console of choice.” It was Finney’s first time with the console, but training in Austin did the trick. “The Full Boar was easy to learn and navigate. I love all the shortcuts I've learned. The playback wing is convenient for quick effects for the rig and it's great to have extra handles for house effects as well. It's so easy to carry and set up.”

Finney added a special shout out to HES’ Paul Hancock, who helped her with training and technical support, while Janowitz added in his thanks to HES’ Craig Burross for his support.

Lighting vendor is Scharff Weisberg. The US tour runs May 28-June 30.

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