Last night I saw mattnathanson for, well, probably the 15th/20th time since 2003. Combine him, Griffin House and Rufus Wainwright and you have Jen 19-22. I spent a majority of my early college years pining over his lyrics and enjoying the goofy awkwardness of his live acoustic shows. Which - in all honesty, his solo shows are among some of the best I’ve ever seen. There are few artists that can captivate a crowd just as he does. It’s unreal.
I’ve had the chance to meet him several times. Never once did he ever make me feel like he was ‘above’ me because he was a ‘celebrity’ - probably because in his head, he wasn’t. But to my sister and I in our early 20s, he was our 1970s Springsteen. And we followed him everywhere. It’s so strange to see him playing to 3-5k people (which don’t get me wrong, he’s earned it and it’s well deserved) but the kids that know him from the ‘hits’ wouldn’t know or care that he had four awesome albums and several ep’s that helped define the end of my youth and the start of the fucked up thing we call ‘adulthood.’ Or that he spent years playing free shows at college student centers and that he used to play with a cellist named Matt Fish. Those years were magical.
'Beneath these Fireworks' was my 'white album' and I ran the shit out of it almost everyday in my Phillips SkipProof Handheld. Most of the kids that know him probably don't know that CD players came in handhelds. For the record, Matt - that album, 'still waiting for spring' and 'when everything meant everything' were and will always be the 'hits' for this now thirty-something.
His show in Columbus was just as awesome as every other bazillionth time I’ve seen him. Full of energy, awkward blatant sexual references that weirdly make the show that much better and just so much passion and talent for the craft. A lot of artists have one or the other. Matt has always had both. Maybe a few older tunes for us old groupies, but I wouldn’t have changed anything. The show is still the same, just the demographic is slightly young and the crowd a little more inebriated. Or I’m just older and more sober. But thank you, Matt. Keep keeping it you, but don’t forget where you came from. Us old fogies still like to hear the solos.