Following the release of his acclaimed debut album Bad Contestant back in the Summer; self proclaimed master of ‘Brexit pop’ Matt Maltese arrived in Manchester last week with a stunning showcase of his glamorous take on gloom at Band On The Wall.
Fresh from the news of their debut EP, Brighton quartet FUR kicked off proceedings with their 60’s inspired jangly pop. Packing their thirty minute set full to the brim with their psychedelic tinged love songs, all of which are drenched in nostalgia.
Catchy hooks and hip swaying melodies are the focal point of the FUR’s sound, topped off with lovesick lyrics sang by frontman William’s throaty vocals; the quartet are nothing but wholesome. Ending their set with the newly released Angel Eyes, FUR left a lasting impression on Manchester, with several comments along the lines of “that was SO good!” heard around the room upon their departure from the stage.
“How do I light up the heart?” Matt Maltese asks as he takes his place centre stage, and centre of one rather large, red velvet heart in what had become a very packed room. The alluring harmonies of Sweet 16 met with the captive capabilities of Maltese’s voice set the tone for the evening, taking full control of the slightly chatty crowd in doing so.
“So my album has sold three million copies! No, I joke, it’s more like six.” he jokes between songs. The thing is, it’s difficult to live up to the hype of an album as good as Bad Contestant; but Maltese is more than a performer, he is a master of showmanship. On top of the perfectly suiting stage set up and flawless performance, his self deprecating comedic chats between songs adds a whole new level of intimacy to his show; leaving each in the room with the feeling they’re experiencing something unique to them.
With his band stepping aside for Even If It’s A Lie, the power in Maltese’s voice is so breathtaking you could hear a pin drop in that crowded room. Behind that voice is a bucket load of emotion, the sense of heartbreak resonating hard.
The gloom doesn’t last for long though, as he reveals the story behind Guilty. “I’d highly recommend being in a love triangle” he tells, going on to explain of how he’d written the song after telling a girl of his love for her, despite her having a boyfriend; before going ice skating with his parents having taken a ‘stupid drug’.
Despite the pessimism in his lyrics, Matt Maltese’s presence and personality is nothing but pure joy. His comedic confidence is infectious, and even having ended on the somber note of Strange Time and As The World Caves In, Maltese left Manchester both joyful and breath taken.