Use Your Imagination
Imagine yourself on a beach. The music is bumping, you can feel the waves of the ocean on your feet, you can feel the coarse sand between your toes as it gets everywhere, and a slight breeze is blowing through your hair. Sound pretty idyllic, right? No, you’re not at the Envision Festival. But, right now you’re going to have to imagine something like that.
Luckily, I went to the right concert for all that. If you’ve been at a beach club, been boating somewhere outside of the upper Midwest, or had roommates who just loved this kind of music (me), you’ve probably heard the beats of deep house sub-genre Tropical House. This type of music originated mainly from Scandinavia for presumably good reason. I can only assume it is rooted in the desire to escape the cold, much like us here in Minnesota. Matoma is one of these original artists that pushed the genre into popularity along with Kygo and Seeb, who are also from Norway.
On his Holy Moly! Tour, Matoma made his stop at The Loft at The Skyway Theatre. He brought along with him Sigala, another up and coming star on the electronic scene. I walked in during the beginning of Sigala’s set. It seemed to be more of a DJ set than a feature of his studio work. I’m not complaining though, because he found the pulse of the crowd (with a hype man) early on and didn’t let go playing hits through the last three decades with his own remixed take on each one.
This hits included songs like “Losing It” by Fisher (a song that is literally everywhere in the electronic scene right now) and other 90s hits like “Jump Around” by House of Pain, “We Like to Party” by the Vengaboys and “Bye Bye Bye” Nsync. It was mostly crowd-pleasers, but that’s fun every once in a while.
West Coast Rap and Nostalgia
Matoma took the stage next and just like all of his promo material; he just seemed like the happiest guy ever. It was all smiles throughout the production, which featured both hits new and old. In particular, Matoma’s love for remixing 90s West Coast rap was on full display with both “Old Thing Back” and “Party on the West Coast” making an appearance among other remixes. Personally, this is probably some of my favorite work of Matoma’s. He has shown Biggie Smalls to yet another generation of fans.
The set was a mix of hits old and new, featuring newer tracks like his collaboration with The Vamps, “All Night” and quite possibly his most famous track, “False Alarm.” It was a poppier set than I was used to, especially considering the last show I went to was Excision, which I would say is just a wee bit harsher than Tropical House.
However, I’m not knocking on Tropical House at all. It has a certain quality to it that really holds a unique place in my heart. You know that feeling of nostalgia you get when you think back to some of the more adventurous things you did growing up? Tropical House always seems to itch that vein of thinking, especially Matoma’s music. It’s feel-good party music, and I’m so about it.
A Small Party (With Heart)
My only slight criticism of the show was that it was clearly meant for a bigger venue. I was somewhat surprised that it was not in the main room of the Skyway Theatre. The show was included stage lights, smoke cannons, and other devices, making a bigger venue necessary. But sometimes you got to make due.
Overall, Matoma put on a fun show. He brought energy and happiness with his music and personality. It kept the crowd going well into the night, for the most part, but we were lacking in density by the 2:00 am cut off, which is understandable on a weeknight. In the end, though, I got to feel that that nostalgia of my (slightly) younger years, even though I am 100% still living them.