This will sound a little silly, if not, even a little frivolous in nature, but when an artist or group seems to be the real deal, how do you go about verifying? That’s something that a lot of folks - especially in music - tend to either jump the shark or come way late to the party on. There’s too much risk in reputation, association, etc. if one goes championing a group that turns out not to be “the real deal.” Granted, the idea of “the real deal” has always been highly platitudinous, and all of it’s synonyms (someone has “it” or “swag”) are equally so, therefore, “the real deal” is the most satisfying for its purpose in this write-up.
“The Real Deal” also happens to rhyme with the subject of this particular write-up’s subject - Mattiel. That’s right, I went through that entire lede all in service of being able to say “The Real Deal, Mattiel.” Upon further examination, it sounded better in my head, but I’m presently amused by it, and I suppose we can only wait until others have read in order to find out if it was worth the effort. I reckon it was, if not for Now/It’s penchant for ridiculous ledes, then for the legitimately rapid intensity that surrounds Mattiel.
Not even a full 24-hours off of announcing opening dates with Jack White, Mattiel made her way up to Nashville from Atlanta (a lot of Atlanta bands on the site, lately, that’s nice) to play one of the most scorching sets of the year. Add that to the fact that folks from Cage the Elephant, The Raconteurs, The Weeks, The Dead Weather, and literally every last A&R rep in Music City were in attendance, and then you’ve got yourself a recipe for someone to prove their mettle, otherwise known as “Real Deal-ing.”
Having just put out one of the hardest hitting LPs by any indie band, the hype was real, and Mattiel Brown brought the heat. She served up some Matt Shultz meets Alison Mosshart level fervor on stage. Much like Charlie Steen of Shame, Mattiel has a truly invigorating approach to fronting - somewhat dominating, but all the while inviting. Most songs were preceded with playful thanks only to be torn to shreds by the fire and fury that is Mattiel Brown. When artists that sell out arenas are angling to Insta-story your set, there’s got to be something good going on there.
Top that all off with the fact that, not only does Mattiel kick ass, but her band is quite possibly one of the slickest backing bands in the southeast, and that is NOT an over-exaggeration. Each dude had his own unique sense of style - 1950s hustler, Communist era bassist, hired gun, musical ninjas - and could play the hell out of their instruments. Truly unreal playing. Absolutely exceptional. I wonder how many other variations of that sentiment I could fit in before people stop reading. Anyway, as the kids say, it was "fire."
Who knows what the future holds for Mattiel and her crew, but if one had to guess, it’s inevitably something big. Go check out their self-titled LP, and do yourself a favor and see Mattiel at the next club show in your area, because you’ll likely never get a chance to again. Because, in case you forgot, Mattiel is “the Real Deal.”