The thing Matt Johnson wants more than anything when he’s performing is to look out from the stage and see the crowd going crazy, like being visibly wild.
“A head bob is not enough,” say Johnson, one half of the indie electronic duo Matt and Kim.
The Brooklyn-based electronic duo have become a go-to live band with their raw exuberance and dance-inducing anthems, which they’ve brought to any number of mainstream music festivals over the past decade, from Outside Lands and Lollapalooza to Bonnaroo and Coachella.
The pair released the album “Almost Everyday” last year, which features guest spots from Mark Hoppus of Blink-182, Santigold and Flosstradamus. Now, Matt and Kim are back on the road and high up on the lineup for the two-day Grizzly Fest at Woodward Park in Fresno.
They perform at 5:30 p.m. Sunday on the Sequoia Stage.
Live shows, especially festival shows, seem to be where Matt and Kim make the most sense, Johnson says. They came from playing warehouse parties in Brooklyn and work hard to keep that atmosphere and vibe in their live shows.
“We love breaking the wall, which is the front of that stage,” he says.
At one point, they spent $15,000 printing their faces on 1,000 blow-up sex dolls, which they threw out in crowds. They also did 10-foot beach balls, which might seem tame by comparison.
The idea is for you to have a good time, even if you’ve never heard a Matt and Kim song, Johnson says.
So, be prepared.
“Don’t come wearing your white shoes to a Matt and Kim show,” he says.
“You’ve got to come to get dirty.”
Other don’t-miss performers
In addition to Matt and Kim, the festival features more than two dozen artists, including headliners Portugal the Man (playing 8:25 p.m Saturday) and G-Eazy (8:25 Sunday).
Be sure to check the full schedule online well in advance as several hype-worthy acts play early in the evening. Schoolboy Q, who just dropped a long-awaited new album last week, plays at 6:55 p.m. Saturday. Jesse Reyes, who was on two tracks on Eminem’s “Kamikaze,” plays at 4:45 p.m. Sunday.
Fashawn, the grandfather of Grizzly Fest., is doing a special 10th anniversary performance of “Boy Meet’s World,” playing the entire album from to back. He is slotted for 3:30 p.m. Sunday on the Yosemite Stage.
Still need tickets?
There’s a perception (thanks to Coachella, mostly) that music festivals tend to sell out, leaving the late planners out of luck.
You can still find Grizzly Fest tickets at all levels online. They will also be on sale the day-of for those who decide to attend last minute. The festival box office will be just east of the main entrance.
Enjoy the extras
This year, it’s all about creating a vibe and making sure Grizzly Fest is more than just its musical lineup, organizer Aren Hekimian says. He doesn’t want people showing up an hour before their favorite band plays.
“This isn’t a concert — this is a festival,” he says.
Which means there’s plenty to enhance the experience.
▪ There’s Saturday morning yoga inside the festival grounds. The hour-long session starts at 9 a.m.
▪ Fresno Street Eats, the guys behind the series of monthly downtown food parties, are hosting a Brunch Eggstravaganza from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. each day. The bloody marys and mimosas are optional.
▪ Root General will curate a massive marketplace, with dozens of local craft vendors.
▪ The food lineup includes eight local restaurants set up just off the main stage. Food trucks will be lined up across the festival grounds, nearer to the main entrance. And, yes, there will be vegan options, from Rappit Up and Eat Figs Not Pigs.
▪ There will be Super Smash Brothers tournaments running every two hours starting at noon each day. Games are free to play and winners will receive VIP upgrades.
▪ For the adult drinkers, there will be a 360-degree bar set up in the middle of the festival grounds and a 32-tap craft beer bar. And also a station with free water refills, because you’ll need to stay hydrated.
▪ 11 a.m. Saturday and Sunday
▪ Woodward Park, Fresno
▪ $75 single day to $489 two-day platinum VIP
Other noteworthy events
▪ Free Comic Book Day, business hours May 4. To find participating comic book shops, visit www.freecomicbookday.com.