Matthew Dear’s captivating theatrics woo intimate crowd at Mezzanine

Matthew-DearPhotos by Mike Frash ~ Written by Molly Kish

White rose petals littered the stage and dance floor Wednesday May 22 after the amazing, underrated Matthew Dear headlined at Mezzanine in San Francisco. Playing to a crowd nowhere near half the capacity of the SOMA venue, the Brooklyn native gave an electrifying performance accompanied by an equally charismatic live band. Playing as though they were in front of a festival crowd, the group held nothing back, delivering a stunning set that covered material spanning his entire catalogue with a focus on dance-inducing crowd favorites and most of the material off of his 2012 album Beams.

The magic of Matthew Dear’s live performance was set up by the meticulous details and artistic ingenuity he has crafted through years of touring. Dimly lit stage lights achieved a minimalist ambiance and five bouquets of white roses were strategically tied to each of the member’s bandstands.

Matthew-Dear

The band hit the stage ready to get people moving with four back to back tracks off Beams, providing steady, understated beats before segueing into “Slow Dance”, a stand out track from 2010’s Black City. Each track was knitted together perfectly, entrancing the intimate audience and setting a perfect early pace for the crowd to assimilate into the inevitable dance party at their own leisure.

Absent of stage banter, Dear instead spoke to the audience through his theatrical stage presence and intense energy. As a front man, he commanded the stage with his expressive movements and unrestrained dance moves. Equally as enthralling, his band members’ passionate intensity permeated through their facial expressions and delivery.

Matthew-Dear

The stand out jam of the evening toned down the BPM and brought the set to a standstill. With the house lights completely down except for a blinding spotlight silhouetted directly on Matthew, he broke into a riveting, angst filled rendition of “Shake Me” for the second to last song of his set. Playing off of the several bouquets of freshly picked white roses that had been added to his stage design, Dear slowly began picking apart one of the buds as soon as he uttered the opening line of the song. About mid way through the emotionally charged tune, he had plucked the petals off at least three to four different stems, then he accentuated the song’s big breakdown by de-flowering an entire dozen all over the stage. Tearing apart the rosebuds feverishly and throwing their debris into the polarized audience, Matthew Dear honed in on the disparity of the track, taking the evening to a darker place emotionally.

He encored the night powerfully with a duo of dance hits, “Her Fantasy” and old school favorite “Don and Sherri”, leaving the initially timid crowd reeling for more.

Matthew-Dear

It’s no surprise that this Ghostly International co-founder is capable of captivating audiences on the regular, and that he’s had a steady career as a DJ, producer and experimental dance artist. Matthew Dear’s raw talent and charisma showed at Mezzanine; he took immediate command of the room upon entering, has an undeniable, enrapturing presence and is responsible for breaking some the best talent currently running the EDM scene. One question I have is, why wasn’t this show packed to the brim with people to have the same experience I did? He might be in that last sliver of time where he can claim to be slightly under the radar as a tastemaker in the indie scene.

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