Matt Maltese Concert Review – Irving Plaza, NYC 3/22/24

Written by on April 21, 2024

Review and Photos by Manda Martinez –

Following his UK & Europe leg, singer Matt Maltese returned to New York for his Touring Just To Tour tour on March 22, 2024. The title of the tour is a reference to his album released in April of 2023 of a similar name, Driving Just To Drive. As a massive fan of Matt Maltese, I was incredibly excited to see him. I saw him at Le Poisson Rouge back in 2022, and the small intimate venue lent itself to his softer, indie rock music. This year, he was at Irving Plaza.

I wasn’t aware of who openers The Army, The Navy were until they came out and began playing. The band consisting of only two members, Sasha Goldberg and Maia Ciambriello, took the stage each with an acoustic guitar in hand. As soon as they started playing, their chemistry was palpable. Their harmonies were hauntingly beautiful. The pair’s voices complimented each other perfectly. My favorite songs of the set have to be “Vienna (In Memoriam)” and “BBIDGI.”

I realized during the intro of “Vienna (In Memoriam)” that I had actually discovered the band on my own, early in the week, thanks to Spotify’s daylist feature. I recall making a mental note to return to the song, as it had stuck in my head. It was a wonderful coincidence which I was also able to share with the band as they stuck around after the show by the merch tables. They were incredibly sweet and I’m so happy that I found a new band to love and support!

After their performance, the stage was set up for Matt Maltese. A gorgeous yet simple stage design, there were garden lamps around the stage and a simple bench, with a piano center stage for the man himself. The artist’s songs are very piano-heavy, I remembered from seeing him two years prior that he doesn’t really leave the piano.

Maltese’s set was absolutely incredible. One thing that fascinates me about him is his vocals. When performing live, he sounds identical to his studio recordings if not better.

His discography is largely composed of bittersweet love songs with cheery beats. He opened the show with his song “You Deserve An Oscar,” one of his most popular tracks. The lighting of the stage added so much to the show, illuminating the band with bright colors. They were captivating.

When they played “Mystery,” the band changed up the ending. Instead of the light and floaty instrumental fade out, they played a short bossa nova instrumental at the end. The funky sounds really contrasted the chill vibe of the song, but it was such a fun switch up.

The band also played a cover of Sixpence None the Richer’s song “Kiss Me.”

On March 8, 2024, Matt Maltese released an entire album of covers called Songs That Aren’t Mine. He takes a much softer approach to the song, slowing it down to match his style better. My favorite song of the night has to be “As the World Caves In,” which was faded into his song “Intolewd.”

Irving Plaza has a gorgeous disco ball on the roof of the venue, which came down during the song. The song being his most streamed on Spotify got the loudest crowd reaction, Matt’s voice almost inaudible over the crowd. Despite this, it was cathartic to be able to sing the iconic song in a room full of people who share the same love for it.

The song blew up during the COVID-19 pandemic, so it serves as a source of nostalgia for many fans including myself. During one of the final chorus’, Matt stood up while playing the piano, gesturing for the audience to sing the line for him. He played the piano more and more aggressively as the song went on, when he sat back down he hit the keys with his elbows to emphasize the chaos of the lyrics.

Matt Maltese is an absolutely wonderful performer, his love for music is evident in his lyrics and even in the way that he moves on stage, playing the piano with such fervor. His passion for music is strong and I look forward to seeing his next project!