Review by Sophia Risin, photos by Dani Leong.
On December 8th, Oakland local Maia, better known as mxmtoon, took the stage at Cafe du Nord for her acoustic Plum Blossom (revisited) tour. It was a small intimate set in an utterly packed venue, and one of the best shows I have seen in recent memory. The show was a short hour and a half with no openers, and had the aura of friends around a campfire, singing songs among friends. The set list had something for everyone, with the entirety of the newest EPas well as a new unreleased song, “Prom Dress,” and a cover of “Riptide” by Vance Joy to finish off the night.
I have been a fan of the artist since 2018, and like so many things from middle school, there is an attachment to her music that I have yet to be able to shake. I last saw her perform live in NYC in fall of 2019, and seeing her show this December was ripe with possibility for self reflection and an appreciation for music and its power.
Unlike her prior tours, this set of performances were all acoustic, simply Maia and a ukulele, almost as if we were pulled back to the YouTube videos that started her career. In this realm of acoustic sound, the audience filled in for backing tracks and percussion, turning the show into one of performance art, as the space came alive with everyone singing along, harmonizing, filling in the drum tracks, and giving the songs a new life. Between witty banter and jokes about twitch streaming, she revealed more of the history behind her songs, influences for pieces like “I feel like Chet” referring to the Chet Baker tune “I Fall in Love Too Easily,” and “Idea of You” being written at 16 about a guy in her chemistry class.
Ultimately, Maia put on one of the most entertaining and enjoyable shows of the year, with a truly bubbly stage presence and performance that I have not been able to get out of my head. A celebration of growing old, being 20 and stupid, and how the dreams of 16 can turn into reality, mxmtoon is an artist that has been a pleasure to watch grow and flourish into a household name.