Matt himself was incredible, but the show lacked 5-star quality simply due to the somewhat disrespectful crowd.
Matt Maltese performed at Tufnell Park’s The Dome at the end of last month, and put on a show to remember. Having never visited The Dome before, on entering I was very impressed with its size. Due to the show’s sold out nature, I was expecting cramped conditions where personal space would seem impossible, however I could see no area where this was the case (unlike some venues we have in Southampton…).
Supporting Matt were Charteuse, who seemed the perfect choice to rally up the crowd. The quartet performed a few songs exemplifying their musical style which is somewhat reminiscent of The XX, with their funky guitar beats combined with some incredibly chill vocals. The vocals were shared by the frontman and frontwoman, which inevitably created some gorgeous harmonies. This band is definitely worth keeping a listen out for.
Once Charteuse successfully excited the crowd, Matt entered the stage opening with ‘Rom-Com Gone Wrong’, the first track off of Krystal to an extremely warm welcoming. This song live was fantastic to hear, as it really showcases Matt’s impressively wide vocal range. His presence on the stage seemed both natural and humble, which simply contributed to his amazing performance. Following ‘Rom-Com Gone Wrong’, Matt performed ‘Like a Fish’ and ‘Curl Up & Die’, all of which are some of his biggest hits. I thought opening with these most popular singles was a rather brave choice at first, considering he still had over an hour to fill. However, it seemed Matt’s main focus throughout the show was to showcase his newest album Krystal, as he played almost every single song from it. My personal favourite performance from this album was ‘I Wish You’d Ask Me’, another song exemplifying Matt’s seemingly neverending talent and wide vocal range.
On Matt’s last UK tour he featured a vintage-style red love heart light behind him and his piano, and I was somewhat disappointed at the removal of this as it suited his general aesthetic perfectly. Nonetheless, the lighting at The Dome was sufficiently pretty enough to complement and capture the aesthetics and aura of the music.
A definite favourite of the crowd due to the especially warm reception it received was ‘When The World Caves In’, a classic single of his which captures the essence of the disasterous state of world politics currently. Matt lightened the tone before playing this by announcing how he originally wrote it for Theresa May and Donald Trump, but it still remains perfectly suited to our current PM… this was well received in the crowd, with many laughs heard across the venue.
The crowd were often quite warm receiving of Matt’s little comments throughout the show, such as his comment on democracy, and whether he should play ‘Paper Thin Hotel’ (one of his earliest and best songs), or ‘Less and Less’. Although neither song got an overwhelmingly strong response, it’s clear that Matt knows just how much the fans wish to hear ‘Paper Thin Hotel’ live in his teasing that he was never actually going to play it.
Other than the warm responses to Matt’s comments in and between songs, I was very disappointed in the general atmosphere of the crowd as it seemed like so many were in the crowd simply just to talk to one another. Their lack of silence and respect towards the live music played was the only thing I could fault in this show, and I am incredibly upset for this to be the reason it lacked 5-stars. Talking through the gorgeous piano introductions of ‘Less and Less’ and ‘Even If It’s A Lie’, both my personal favourites of the show, was, in my opinion, very disrespectful and ruined two favourites for me.
Upon returning to an encore at the end of the show, Matt performed ‘When You Wash Your Hair’, the final single off Krystal. This was a suitable end as its emotive piano riffs summarise what a Matt Maltese song is all about.
Be sure to keep an eye out on any of Matt’s future shows here.