By Sarayu Pai
Y’all might not have heard of MAX, but he put on a fabulous show on Saturday night. A couple of years ago, his song “Lights Down Low” peaked with its plaintive yet powerful and perennial chorus. His energy was indubitably the most captivating component of his performance, jumping across the stage and flailing his arms so much that his shirt ripped. He also threw some acrobatics into his musical line-up, with splits and a flip across the stage. The stage emanated a jungle-like vibe with a vine twirling around MAX’s mic stand and the screen rapidly flashing between blurry videos and animated, stylized prints of the artist’s name.
What interested me most about his music was his impressive vocal range for a male, especially present in two of his most recognized songs “Lights Down Low” and “Home.” His genre mainly lies in pop but tends to skirt the edges of EDM — the genre everyone recognizes as it is blared at KSig’s annual party Eurotrash.
The perks of having such young artists perform is that it really sets a good tone for the young population of Stanford undergraduates. Many students may want to pursue music as a full-time career but think it is not feasible due to the sheer difficulty of establishing a name in the very subjective arts industry. Bringing young artists to campus shows that hard work and dedication, and most imperatively, a burning desire to share a passion with others, makes anything possible. Prior to MAX’s performance, student opener Patrick Slade took the stage with an avant-garde musical performance with his own vocals and techno music in the background. The way that MAX acted and spoke also was very reminiscent of our Gen Z culture — irreverent and carefree with usage of swear words —which undoubtedly makes concerts more fun and informal.
Although I (and I assume a good number of my peers) did not know the lyrics to probably half of his set-list, it was really validating when he sang his radio hits “Love Me Less” and especially “Lights Down Low.” There’s something about that song, especially since it is dedicated to the love of his life, that makes it so poignant and relatable for college students who are navigating the tricky terrain of love.
Overall, MAX put on an engaging and exciting concert, and we should definitely keep an eye and an ear out for the next musical releases from this self-professed “Hell’s Kitchen Angel.”