There’s a certain feeling when you’re grooving in the crowd at the fine establishment of SOhO and you look onstage to find a 19-year-old kid jamming on several different instruments throughout the course of a set. And the feeling has little to do with jealousy or chagrin (after all, who wouldn’t want to live the life of a touring musician in their teen years) and much more to do with a sense of pride that the world still successfully churns out artists who can astound us with their ability at such a young age.
Where it usually takes artists decades to reach a point of comfort with their respective medium, Matthias Oldofredi – better known by his stage name Filous – has achieved what few others in the industry are capable of: fluency in all kinds of instruments, before the age of 20. The sole giveaway from his SOhO set on May 14th that could indicate his actual age was the boyish grin while he worked his way from guitar to keyboard to harmonica to mandolin during his show, an appearance that felt far too short given the artist’s impressive sound. Although his interaction with the audience was limited, the small size of the room and Matthias’ wildly-apparent enjoyment helped relate to a crowd full of people mostly in their mid-to-late 20s.
An interesting aspect of the set was the fact that despite being known predominately as an electronic artist, making his impact through remixing relevant hits like Calvin Harris’ “Summer” and Porter Robinson’s “Divinity,” the entire performance on Saturday night was played using live instruments. Joined onstage by a bassist (who also doubled as a vocalist) and a drummer, Filous elected to present himself as part of a band instead of as just a DJ. Perhaps it was this honesty in presentation that allowed for the most intimacy between band and audience during the set.
As for the best songs of the night, the obvious choices would have to be the band’s “remix” of Damien Jurado’s “Ohio” in addition to their spin on Jose Gonzalez’s “Heartbeats” and Filous’ original “How Hard I Try,” the last of which appeared on 2015’s Dawn EP. Although the tracks were all of an excellent quality in being performed live, we can hope that by the time Matthias is ready to return to Santa Barbara, he has more new material under his belt and can play a considerably longer set.