Despain at Chain Reaction – Live Review
Despain, Chain Reaction, Anaheim, CA., November 4, 2021
Matt Skajem is best known for his time spent in Out With The Old and Best Kept Secret, having performed on several dates of the iconic Vans Warped Tour. Despain is Matt’s latest creation, an imaginative amalgamation of pop punk, emo and hip hop. And on the night of November 4th behind the notorious Orange Curtain, Skajem would play his first show in four years! Featuring like-minded artists such as Lil Used and Apex The Star Killer, the real auditory Wonderland was not be at found a world-famous amusement park two miles away but within the hallowed walls of the legendary Chain Reaction. And those venturing out to catch the live debut of Despain were in for a night to remember.
On the stage with Despain was a D.J. as well as other assorted friends rocking out and having a good time. Despain definitely brought the Chain to ultra-vivid life at once, opening with the raging refrains of Got Me Down. Cigarette Burns is a recent single gaining a good amount of momentum, and it was infinitely scorching when performed within a live setting – slam pit and all. The dark and supremely infectious Chemicals was performed from Despain’s vastly underrated EP WØNDERLVND , featuring many in audience singing along to its insanely catchy chorus.
Blood Bath was unleashed, presenting Despain flirting with a New Wave aesthetic that absolutely tantalized the senses. Another highlight was the somber yet breathtaking sounds of Death Bed, with its “there’s a monster in the closet and he’s going to break out” inflections. Despain closed out his set was the stunning Wake Me Up, featuring a spiraling chorus that would jam on in your head long after the artist left the stage.
Matt Skajem has a sunny personality on and off the stage, and the juxtaposition with the often somber and introspective lyrics are compelling to behold. With a ton of charisma and inspiring material to back it all up, Matt Skajem’s Despain is sure to enrapture all types of music fans above and beyond these lingering pandemic days. Be sure to catch Despain the next time he plays in your town because his sonic and lyrical visions are not to be missed.
(Review by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue)