Matoma Heats Up the Middle East

By Shannon Dwyer 04-28-15
When it comes to EDM, Tropical House music is the new kid on the block. Characterized by its “chill out” vibe and summer nostalgia, this sub-genre has taken the electronic music sphere by storm. Due to the mainstream popularity of producers like Thomas Jack and Kygo, Tropical House has been riding a wave of success over the past few months. Notable Tropical House artist Matoma brings his own flair to this craze, which he introduced to Cambridge during his sold-out show at the Middle East on April 23rd.ma2

The 23-year old Norwegian producer (real name Tom Straete) is most known for his remix of Notorious B.I.G.’s “Old Thing Back,” the ultimate throwback that has gone viral on SoundCloud. Somehow, the tropical sound melded with the rap quite nicely and produced this little gem turned hit.

The openers, Felix Angel and Jaminic, did a great job warming up the crowd, and they were ready to go from the beginning of Matoma’s set onward. The staging was minimal: two palm trees, one on each side of his DJ booth, with multi-colored spotlights trailing along them in front of his name projected on the wall. His stage design captured the essential energy of his sparse, string-plucked music, and as soon as he stepped onto the booth (wearing a plastic lei), the whole room was captured.

For more than 90 minutes, the crowd basked in his sun-kissed grooviness. Covers of Gnarls Barkley’s “Crazy” and the Sam Smith-featuring “La La La” energized the crowd, but it was nothing compared to the moment he dropped the Aston Shuffle’s remix of the Young Money smash “Truffle Butter” (featuring Nicki Minaj, Lil Wayne, & Drake). The entire crowd went insane, releasing all the emotion Matoma had been building up since he took the stage. The set’s last half-hour was jam-packed, starting with the unexpected Jack Ü/Justin Bieber thumper “Where Are Ü Now” before jumping around to Matoma’s remixes of Eminem’s “Business” and The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Big Poppa.” Matoma refers to Biggie as one of his biggest influences, perhaps that’s why he chose to save so much of his Biggie back-catalog for the end.
After he went about five minutes overtime, the venue’s operators began signaling him to wrap it up, but Matoma pleaded for two more minutes with his fans. They granted his request, allowing him to close the set in high fashion with another B.I.G. remix (“Old Time Back”). Even when the show ended, the crowd persisted, chanting “one more song!”

The buzz was kept alive even as the audience spilled out the doors into the frigid air. Anyone who can create that kind of excitement and atmosphere is sure to have a long and prosperous career ahead of them.

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