Matina Z Rocks!
Rock'n'roll is NOT dead. You just have to look for it. The airwaves are riddled with sound-alike artists, many of whom have gotten their start on reality tv shows that ask the country to “vote for your faves”. On Saturday, July 27, 2013, Aurora, Ontario was graced with the presence of live rock'n'roll music at Town Park. The concert was part of a 3-day music festival which celebrated local talent from various musical genres. I'm a sucker for rock'n'roll so I tend to gravitate towards artists that are capable of bringing a crowd to their feet with a heavy guitar sound and the bass of a kick drum. Matina Z and her band did not disappoint.
I featured a Q & A with Matina prior to her concert, and when I got to Town Park she graciously thanked me for the write-up. Polite rock stars. Gotta love it.
Matina mentioned in her interview that she's a big Dave Grohl fan. He would have been proud on Saturday night knowing that the moment he decided to hang around in a garage in Seattle with a few “crappy musicians” (his words not mine!) he ignited inspiration in so many young people. Rockers like Matina Z, who in true rock tradition, paid tribute to Grohl's Nirvana and his current Grammy-winning group The Foo Fighters in her set list on July 28. “Everlong”, “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, and “The Pretender” had an energy and pop to them that allowed the Aurora crowd (thinned by the ever-present thunder showers that threatened to cut everyone's set times short throughout the day) to take notice of the young woman on stage who was here to entertain them. The band played tight and the covers of Grohl's songs were great. But they weren't better than the passion that flowed out of this band once they played their own songs. Belting out original, self-written songs like “Stage 9 Clinger” and “My Kinda Man”, Matina showed poise, stage presence, and a coolness that you can only carry at a young age if you're Joan Jett. That isn't an easy thing to do.
Matina Z offered no-nonsense rock music – something that our musical landscape is in great need of. The chemistry between the band members was obvious and organic: you can't fake being locked in the zone of playing as a unit. Your band either has it or it doesn't, and these folks do. The crowd was a bit too quiet for my liking, but this is the Greater Toronto Area after all. I've seen them sit while they're in 15th row Rolling Stones seats, so it definitely isn't a reflection of the performance they're witnessing. We need to be a little more outgoing as a population, but that's a conversation for another day. Matina had the crowd clapping along and some were dancing with strangers: always a good sign at a rock concert.
I normally don't ask my readers for favors, but the hard work that this young woman has done in getting her music out there deserves the favor I'm going to ask. Call/e-mail/write your local rock radio station and ask them to play her music. Her album is self-written, self-marketed, and she has no record deal. Why? I'm going to quote one of my idols here: “People are threatened by girls playing sweaty rock'n'roll.” Joan Jett is right. In fact, this young lady has been approached by several big name producers and asked to “switch to pop music.” But like a true rocker, she has said “no” time and time again. Joan Jett was right again: “True rock'n'roll can't be bought.”
The performance I witnessed was one that would make any music fan happy and sad at the same time. Happy because young people are making good rock music, and sad that there are few radio stations willing to play it, especially if there is a female with a guitar fronting a rock band. It's good rock and roll, no matter who is singing and playing.
Be sure to check out Matina's website if you haven't already. If you love rock'n'roll, you won't be sorry.