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The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

IN PHOTOS: Matt Maeson’s concert was a 2-for-1 therapy session and comedy show

Matt Maeson and Medium Build’s performance at the Ryman Auditorium on Aug. 26 left the audience in laughter and tears
Sara West
Matt Maeson smiles as he performs at the Ryman Auditorium, as photographed on Aug. 26, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Sara West)

After catching a glimpse of Matt Maeson’s talent during his set at Bonnaroo this summer, I knew I needed to see what a full concert would be like. Maeson decided to make this tour “A Solo Experience,” leaning into the solo-style tour that other artists have experimented with. Not every artist can make the solo format work, and I was nervous to watch Maeson do the same. However, after seeing him nail every minute of his performance, I can confidently say that if anyone can perform an excellent solo show, it’s him.  

The show featured a crossover between one of the most talented singers you will ever hear and a comedy show. At numerous points, if you had told me I was at Zanies, I would’ve believed you. Maeson and opener Medium Build kept the crowd laughing by constantly cracking jokes between songs.

Starting the night was Medium Build, otherwise known as Nick Carpenter, an alternative folk artist who caught my attention the past few months through his TikTok videos with local Nashville artist Daniel Nunnelee. Medium Build walked on stage casually but wasted no time pouring his emotions into his songs. He began with his song “White Male Privilege” and continued with “Gimme Back My Soul.” Between these songs, he took a minute to tell the audience how he became Maeson’s opener and laughed about the vast collection of guitars on stage. 

“Matt said, ‘I’m doing a solo show, and I want you to open it up and do it solo too,’ and I said, ‘alright.’ I’ve never been alone on stage, so I just brought all my guitars,” Medium Build said. 

Medium Build continued with an unreleased track titled “Everything I Am is Cause of You.” He shared that he used to talk a lot about how stupid it was that he left his hometown to pursue music, but moments like performing at the Ryman made him realize it was all worth it. 

Medium Build continued with songs such as “Atom,” “Never Learned to Dance” and, one of my favorite songs of his, “Friend for Life.” Throughout the set, Medium Build continued to interact with the crowd, including throwing his hat to a fan who asked for it. Additionally, he did something I’ve never seen an artist do before: he asked everyone in the crowd to scream as loud as they could to let go of whatever stressors they were holding onto. This felt silly in the Ryman, but it was a testament to how comfortable Medium Build felt on stage. Medium Build ended his set with his song “Rage,” leading the crowd to stand and cheer him on with a standing ovation. 

The crowd started cheering again when Maeson came on stage and began with his song “That’s My Cue.” Though Maeson was standing in front of around 2,000 people, he seemed immediately comfortable on stage. During his whole set, I felt like I was attending an intimate living room show. 

After singing a few other songs, Maeson invited a special guest to perform their song “I Know You” together. Local artist Steinza quickly joined in on the humorous energy on stage by quipping with Maeson about if they were doing a “talking” moment before the song. After Maeson gave Steinza approval, he was quick to make up a funny story before revealing the real beginnings of such a beautiful piece of music. 

After Steinza left the stage, Maeson kept pouring his heart out, but this time, on piano. Despite the emotional piano ballads he was about to play, he made sure to take time to joke around before this set. He performed his songs “Split Personality Blues” and “Rational” as well as a new song. Before debuting this new song, he made the audience laugh at his candidness.

“There’s probably a 50/50 ratio that I fuck it up, but you won’t know the difference anyways!” Maeson said. 

“I didn’t fuck it up, ” he shared after finishing the song successfully.

Maeson continued sharing songs and stories throughout the night, including “Bank On The Funeral,” “Sanctified” and “Waltz Right In.” He told a long story about his beginnings as an artist before singing “Hallucinogenics” and “Beggar’s Song,” to which everyone in the room knew the words. After “Beggar’s Song,” Maeson left the stage, prompting the crowd to stop their feet on the pews to request an encore. He soon returned to perform his final song, “Legacy.” 

Despite how deep each of Maeson’s songs is, he is a natural performer and surely knows how to lighten the mood and engage an audience. If you go to his show, you will not only leave knowing you have heard an exceptionally talented artist, but you will also feel emotional, inspired and with a stomach cramp from laughing so hard.

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About the Contributor
Sara West
Sara West, Deputy Photography Editor
Sara West ('25) is majoring in psychology in the College of Arts and Science and human and organizational development in Peabody College. Sara loves going to concerts, thrifting and exploring new places. She was previously Deputy Photography Director and hopes to enter the music industry after graduating.  She can be reached at [email protected].
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