Last week in our interview, I remember being taken aback when Matt Maltese said he didn’t feel super successful; but now I understand. As he confidently advanced through the crowd of twenty-somethings towards the stage in his signature dark brown mobster-esque suit, I considered how small the venue at Oporto was. It was then when I realised that Maltese was not as well-known as I thought he was, or as he deserves to be.
Despite the small room, Maltese made the room feel much larger than it was, with his distinctive reverb and marvellous booming vocals. Live, his piano playing was slightly exaggerated and performative in a way that wasn’t cringey or overdone, but suited the aesthetic, particularly in ‘Vacant in the 21st Century’.
New songs such as ‘Club Night Love’, and the extremely dark humour of ‘Misery’ will hopefully promote his popularity, along with ‘Sweet Sixteen’, an upbeat new track with piano melodies that sound like they’ve been taken from the circus, containing lyrics like “I can always passive aggressively push you into a song”. Another new work, ‘Guilty’, was also well received, particularly after the introduction he gave: “this is where the night takes a turn from the pathetic to the even more pathetic”, going on to explain that ‘Guilty’ was written about a photo in their family calendar, taken when he went ice skating with his mum, having kissed his friend’s girlfriend and taken ket for the first time the night before. With its overtly happy, bouncy chords, jazzy piano solo, and funny self-deprecating but relatable lyrics, this should be a future hit.
Yet I’m concerned that people won’t/don’t get it. His lyrics are shrewdly funny and while I sometimes struggled to keep the corners of my mouth down, I saw no such reaction from others in the crowd. I think the audience expected him to be a love song writer, and while his opening song ‘Studio 6’, a dejected wry ballad still carried poignancy, his voice had outgrown his most famous song ‘Even if it’s a Lie’.
[Feature Image: Poppy Marriott for Dork]