Arts, Music, Off Campus

Matoma Celebrates Life at House of Blues

Something contagious was in the air at the House of Blues when Matoma performed to a sold out crowd as part of his One in a Million tour…and it wasn’t the flu. Matoma brought relentless energy and positivity for hours, as he remixed popular songs by adding his own melodies and harmonies. The crowd loved the continuity of the music and the performer—much like his show and the seamless transitions that kept the audience moving, Matoma never stopped dancing and shuffling himself. Matoma’s palpable positive spirit radiated through the crowd and reflected back to the artist. This mutualistic feeling created an awe-inspiring positive feedback loop that made it impossible to not feel joy, as it enveloped all those in attendance.

Matoma, a 26-year-old Norwegian DJ and producer, treated the audience to remixes of songs from a wide variety of musical genres, from West Coast rap to Sam Smith ballads. He kept the audience on its feet, dancing and guessing as to what song would come next. The fast-paced playlist didn’t dwell on one song for too long. A crafty lead, often with flutes and horns, built up to epic bass drops, which resonated and then swiftly dissolved into the next song. Matoma took his fans through this exhilarating cycle over and over again. Each time, the crowd answered with delight, dancing ecstatically and letting the blaring sounds move their bodies.

While much of the set was pre-recorded, Matoma wowed the audience by playing live melodies over the base and drums loops. Stationed behind his extensive keyboard, he treated the crowd to a keyboard solo with a trumpet effect on “Old Thing Back,” a song which samples The Notorious B.I.G. and features vocals from Ja Rule and Ralph Tresvant. The crowd went wild for Matoma’s live rendition of his hit remix, one that Ja Rule has acknowledged himself. Another memorable song that Matoma played live was “False Alarm,” a tropical house love song with tender vocal sampling from Becky Hill. The song slowed the night down, and as the clock approached midnight, it seemed like a fitting end to the concert, especially as Matoma’s drawn-out piano playing eased the crowd to a lull.

As the song ended and the crowd began to applaud, Matoma dove into a high energy rendition of DJ Khaled’s “All I Do Is Win.” The bass thumped, lasers and lights flashed, smoke erupted, and confetti showered down on those in attendance. The crowd, which had just settled into the relaxed and slow mood of the previous song, was back to dancing and moving with a reinvigorated energy. Matoma kept the energy going with a remix of Kendrick Lamar’s “HUMBLE.” This track contained bass beats that were so intense it seemed to shake the bodies of the fans themselves.

The highlight of the night was a portion of ambient sounds that Matoma created on stage. The whirling, intermittent but ever-present sounds, coupled with the incredible lighting effects, created “a moment,” a surreal experience that left audience members frozen in time and taking in their surroundings. While the audience was absorbing the love that floated through the room, Matoma began building a layered melody that was approaching dangerously high levels of awesomeness. As the music reached its peak, Matoma climbed onto a platform and jumped off, soaring through the air as the bass dropped and confetti flew. The peak extended and new musical elements kept emerging, causing fans to dance frantically with the remaining bit of energy that they had. When the audience could no longer take the intensity, Matoma slowed it down with a much needed rendition of “Don’t You Worry Child.” Matoma skillfully understood his audience and maintained a tempo to the night that everyone could enjoy.

Those who might not be familiar with raves would have been blown away by the positivity and friendliness of everyone at the concert. Everyone was there to enjoy themselves, the music, and each other. Matoma recognized this outpouring of emotion from crowd and got emotional, choking up as he thanked the crowd for its positivity. The experience of being part of a group of thousands of people, joined together to celebrate life, love, and sound, was incredibly powerful and one that will not be soon forgotten.

Featured Image by Warner Music

February 12, 2018