Falling Out of Summer with Mat Kerekes: Concert Review

Courtesy of Elektra Music Group/Black Cement Records

Courtesy of Elektra Music Group/Black Cement Records

Let’s take a trip back to March of this year. Why? Because that was when I first heard of Mat Kerekes and listened to the title track on his most recent record, “Ruby”. I loved the song so much that I was quick to talk about Mat on our show. Between his earnest songwriting and vocals that float effortlessly between defiant and breezy, I found myself instantly hooked into his world. Fast forward to the end of September, I made my way to The Foundry on a beautiful early fall night in Philadelphia to catch this stop on Mat Kerekes’s fall tour with Teamonade and Shortly.

My night began with Ohio punk band Teamonade, whose energetic presence shook me by the shoulders and out of my mind. With brash drums and intricate guitar riffs verging on the border between indie and math rock, Teamonade captured the attention of the growing crowd. Lead vocalist and guitarist Osi Okoro’s voice lured me into each song the same way I’d spent hours locked in my room listening to Modest Mouse, feeling both compelled and unsettled simultaneously.

Following Teamonade’s set, Detroit outfit Shortly took the stage, mesmerizing me immediately with a dreamy guitar intro. The guitar alone was enough to warm my heart, but then lead singer and guitarist Alexandria Maniak opened her mouth to start singing, and I couldn’t do anything else but stare at the stage for the rest of the set. With the kind of vocals that make you want to fall in and out of love a hundred times over, it is obvious to anyone with ears that the music and lyrics come straight from the heart to our ears.

I’d like to imagine that watching Shortly on stage was something like watching an early era Paramore playing some of their first big shows. You could tell how comfortable they were with each other on stage, from their playful banter to the synchronicity of every instrument as they played each song. As they neared the end of their set, I found myself wishing they’d play for just a while longer, thoroughly aware of the soft smile that had been permanently fixed on my face during their set. But once they left the stage and I looked at the crowd which had doubled in size, filled with fans in a diverse range of ages, I began to feel the excitement in the air for Mat Kerekes to start.

Listening to Kerekes’s music back in March was already a feel-good experience, but as soon as Mat began playing his first song of the night, it was clear to me that his music was truly made to be experienced live. When I closed my eyes, I could practically smell the scent of summer bonfires and hear the sound of block parties and festivals. From stories about his dad hearing his albums for the first time inside their pick up truck to the fact that his own brother was playing with him on stage, the environment Kerekes and company created in the small room of The Foundry was close and familial.

As I watched Kerekes cooly crack jokes onstage and listen to the audience respond with the same energy, I felt as if I was watching a local band play a set at their go-to bar. The kind of show where everyone knows everyone and the band. With that kind of energy in the room alone, it is impossible to stand still to the music. Paired with the folksy instrumentation of songs like “Diamonds” and “Spider Silk” or the punked-up screams to the abyss during songs like “Direction” and “My Lucky #3,” I was singing, screaming and swaying along all night.

I’d like to think that, as an audience member, you pick up on the energy of a tour. I’d like to think that you are filled with the same positivity that exists within the bands and band members that make up that show. I hope that’s true because, from the moment I stepped into the venue, I was overwhelmed by a comforting and accepting atmosphere, where each band that took the stage only made that warm feeling within me grow deeper.

When I finally stepped out of the venue, I looked around to see nothing but smiles and groups of friends enjoying the final days of good weather before the air turns cold. Heading back home, I couldn’t imagine a better way to wrap up one hell of a summer than spending an evening with Mat Kerekes.

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Catch Mat Kerekes on tour this fall in your city!

  • Wed Oct 23rd - Chicago, IL

  • Fri Oct 25th - Denver, CO

  • Sat Oct 26th - Salt Lake City, UT

  • Mon Oct 28th - Seattle, WA

  • Tue Oct 29th - Portland, OR

  • Thu Oct 31st - San Francisco, CA

  • Fri Nov 1st - Anaheim, CA

  • Sat Nov 2nd - Los Angeles, CA

  • Sun Nov 3rd - Mesa, AZ

  • Tue Nov 5th - San Antonio, TX

  • Wed Nov 6th - Dallas, TX

  • Thu Nov 7th - Nashville, TN

  • Fri Nov 8th - Cincinnati, OH