LIVE: Matt Maltese @ Band On The Wall

WORDS BY JODIE BROOKSBANK      PHOTOS BY REBECCA CRIBB

Matt Maltese wooed Band On The Wall with songs from his latest album ‘Bad Contestant’. Opening with ‘Guilty’ he showcases his tongue-in-cheek lyrics with an alternative sense of romance – “8am and my poor heart sure feels tender”. Sensitive and wise beyond his years, he’s been ushered into the genre of Schmaltzcore along with his counterpart, Tom Misch. Jaunty piano riffs and dark humour-filled lyrics are metaphorically splendid and very reminiscent of Father John Misty.

Support came from FUR, their dreamy guitar riffs swirled around the iconic Manchester venue. They play dreamy DIY pop with a folky edge which acts as a perfect warm up for Matt Maltese. Backed with dreamy heart shaped lighting, it seemed Maltese was making an almost ironic statement as he sung of Shakespearean-style heartbreak. He expertly tackles themes of melancholy and depression; with these themes immaculately depicted on the sardonically named album ‘Comedic Life’.

‘Greatest Comedian’ is a set highlight, which is slightly rockier and breaks up the ballad-heavy setlist. With a fuzzy bass-line, whirring guitars and melodic backing vocals it brings the set to an undeniable peak. It also allows Maltese to leave his keyboard behind and be up on his feet for the first and last time in the set.

Before giving a rousing and emotive performance, ‘As the World Caves In’ he introduces it by saying, “this is about being eighteen and heartbroken”. The theme echoes that of Father John Misty’s ‘I Love you, Honeybear’, with dramatic declarations of love, he builds up a perfect picture of theatrical romance with “Yes it’s you I welcome death with/As the world caves in” but there’s a sad sense of unrequitement.

Endearing himself to the Mancunian audience he tells a story of when he’d agreed to go ice skating with his mother but it was the morning after a bender and “taking too much of a stupid drug”. He seems so human and has an undeniable gift for summing up the intricacies and sometimes just plain ridiculous parts of human existence. His stories and lyrics of one night stands, love triangles and giving into peer pressure enchant the crowd with their overwhelming realness.

Although he seems to be an old soul, Maltese captures the confusion and sense of “fumbling through life” which is so familiar to anyone in their early 20s. There’s a comfort to his words and a sense of unity amongst his fans, which is sorely needed in a time of such uncertainty.

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