Matt Maltese leaves Center Stage in wonder

Matt Maltese looks out at the audience during his April 1 performance at Vinyl at Center Stage. Maltese’s dreamy performance enchanted the Atlanta audience. // Photo by Patrisiya Rumyantseva Student Publications

Matt Maltese is a man of wonder, charm and boyish attributes. The soft embrace of his wilting feminine voice is an alluring experience, and he is undoubtedly the medicine for a broken heart. 

Maltese is a musical poet, as his raw, elegant lyrics and emotion have a particular way of reaching the soul and stripping people down to their most vulnerable sentiments. 

The 24-year-old English singer-songwriter found fame early in his career after releasing his debut single “Even If It’s a Lie” in 2015, and Maltese has since released three studio albums and two EPs. 

Vinyl at Center Stage, Maltese’s venue on April 1, served as an intimate space. A red hue drowned out the vape smoke, and small snippets of people’s days filled the pre-show anticipation. 

The opening act was kicked off by Becca Harvey, who goes by the stage name girlpuppy, and the thrill was overpowering. Draped in a long black dress, Harvey defined elegance and class, and her overarching beauty could only be explained by witchcraft. 

Harvey is Atlanta-born, and she has been on tour with Maltese all over the country, making their way to Atlanta from their previous show in Texas. The tenderness of Harvey’s voice feels like a warm shower at night, a scoop of gelato or an embrace from your loved one.

The second Maltese and his band made their way to the stage, a haze of immediate attraction crept its way over the crowd. In a tightly buttoned shirt and black corduroys, Maltese gave the illusion of a retired heartbreaker in a young lad’s body. 

Maltese opened his show with “Good Morning,” which gives the myth of an early spring morning. 

Maltese himself said that the song is “an ode to the timelessness of morning” and the importance of stability in treacherous times, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. 

As the night progressed, the crowd swooned in a blue wave. “Good Morning” set the progression into “Rom-Com Gone Wrong” and “You Deserve an Oscar,” two songs about antipathy and escapism in everyday life. Sonically, the innocence of the piano intertwines with Maltese’s beatific, luxuriant voice. 

However, the lyrics of the songs dig deeper into the soul, proving that writing music like Maltese takes a special heart built upon trial and error and the butterflies one gets as they are within a mile of their loved one. 

Music of this sort teaches listeners that they are never too young to love and never old enough to forget those who have crawled deep into their heart. They are never too old to live in the moment and appreciate the smallest fragments of existence, including the moments they write ballads for on rainy days. 

As the show approached an end after the sentimental performances of “Less and Less” and “Curl Up and Die,” Maltese elevated the spirits of the crowd with his roused humor. The concert was on April Fools, and the crowd broke out into laughter as Maltese willingly made fun of himself and the life he indulges in. 

Harvey joined Maltese on stage for the last couple of songs and was later seen at the bar giving out autographs on napkins. 

With the nearing of the encore, Maltese performed “As the World Caves In,” the very song that brought him to fame. The song became a viral sensation on TikTok in 2020 and has accumulated over 265 million streams. 

Maltese’s melodramatic voice and cynical world outlook shape the song into a cathartic experience. Bittersweet and haunting, “As the World Caves In” is a description of a couple enjoying their last day on Earth before it caves in. 

For two years, fans have speculated about the real meaning of the song, coming up with intricate theories. 

However, Maltese came out later to say that the track is about a fictional apocalyptic romance between former President Donald Trump Jr. and former UK Prime Minister Teresa May, who spent their last day on Earth together before burning the world with atomic bombs. 

Maltese concluded the song with a negative harmony on the piano and ran off stage. With an encore on its way, the crowd was engulfed in flames of passion. The very last song of the performance was “When You Wash Your Hair,” a song from Maltese’s 2020 album. 

Angelic and romantically nostalgic, the song is miserably beautiful, especially if you are thinking of someone in particular. With a dignified bow, Maltese and his band disappeared off the stage, leaving the audience in a state of pure bliss.