Matt Nathanson set to rock the Majestic
Though not new to the singer-songwriter field, and a member by self-admission, Matt Nathanson - who plays tonight at the Majestic Theater (115 King St.) - is not an artist who should be pigeon-holed into the category.
I just like rock music, and then I just happen to just be a singer-songwriter,"" Nathanson said in an interview with The Daily Cardinal yesterday. ""I was weaned on Def Leppard and that kind of shit."" Though he may deny it, his music most definitely parallels some contemporaries he's often compared to, such as John Mayer and Jason Mraz.
With his latest album, Some Mad Hope, Nathanson, unlike Mayer and Mraz, dropped his big label contract with Universal, which put out his previous album, Beneath These Fireworks, and instead decided to go it alone.
""[It was] sort of dating, like, the wrong women. We made out OK and had a good dinner once in awhile,"" he said about the Universal deal.
Not that this slowed Nathanson down. The new album, although not a wide departure from his previous works, definitely explores some new territories. Though Nathanson doesn't pull a ""John Mayer"" and record the whole album on a heavily effected electric guitar, he expands the sonic qualities of his backing band. It's much more rock, but not quite shock.
The subject matter of the new album is a step forward too. Although still lamenting about past relationships and lost friends on most of the tracks, they're clearly the work of someone who's not experiencing any of this for the first time. Tracks such as ""Come and Get Higher"" and ""Still"" - songs he refers to as ""sexier"" - are more of a ""Ha! I've already been here, do your worst!"" cry at former lovers.
Nathanson's albums don't tell the full story of his music, however. He, by his own admission, has a type of musically split-personality.
""The records are one aspect, like 50 percent of what I do, and the live show is the other 50 percent,"" he said. ""No one ever says 'You have to hear his records,' [they say] 'You got to see him live.' It's cool, it's fun.""
In hopes of conveying this to new listeners, he released live album At the Point last year.
""They were taking so long to make the new record that I thought, 'You know what would be a cool idea? Let's record a couple shows and make an intimate live acoustic CD. That'd be fun.'""
The album, an all acoustic solo set from a show in Philadelphia, is an insight into the experience, and slight insanity, that is the trademark of a good Matt Nathanson concert. For instance, despite being only 34, he introduces his set by telling the crowd, ""I have decades of hits that I'm going to be playing for you tonight. Stuff that probably you and your parents have made love to... not together,"" and later confirming that his ""pyro is all good,"" before launching into the song ""Angel.""
Though his music is becoming more widespread, recently being an iTunes' Singles of the Week, and just Wednesday filming for the second video off of Some Mad Hope, he has no plans to move on from the base of fans that have made him popular so far.
""I just love playing and I love connecting, so I don't think that's ever going to stop. It's only going to get more intense. The more people get to know the records and the more people get to know you, the more the circuit catches on, the more people will sorta feel a part of it.Subscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter