For you, the dress code is casual.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Matt Good Review-Type Thing

So, I saw Matt Good's acoustic show at The Centre last night. Matt stripped everything down to just his patent vocal stylings and his acoustic guitars. He played a few tracks from his new release, which I'll definitely be paying money for (might as well support one of the few artists who really has something compelling to say, eh?) as well as doing his take on a number of classics from his early years, with the lion's share being from one of my favourite albums of '99, Beautiful Midnight.

The lighting annoyed the shit out of me, though. It was lighting done by someone who clearly doesn't often do the lighting in auditoriums of that size and shape. For the entire second half of the gig, I had thousand-watt bulbs shining directly in my eyes. Not just at me -- directly in my eyes. Thanks, Lighting Guy. Nice work. Seriously, for about 6 songs in a row.

Then there's the hearing issue. I wear hearing aids, and Matt's got this incredible "we're all in it together" mentality about gigs and will invariably open a dialogue with the crowd every fucking time he plays. It's awesome. He's witty, sharp, well-versed, and about the most articulate rock guy you'll probably ever encounter. Hence why his blog has consistently been in the top 50 Canadian blogs for years now. So, when he's chatting up an audience, be fully prepared for how outspoken and opinionated he is, and dust off your Webster skills 'cos boy's got vocab.

But, me, like I say, I wear hearing aids. Turns out the design of the Centre makes it very good at echoing shouts. Matt, moody sardonic guy that he is, is Mr. Mumbler. Loves to do his low, throaty monologues. Means I miss half of what he says, sadly, and you throw in the reverb of the audience and the odd bright guy's shouts at Matt and you get a pretty muddled auditory pot.

Still, it wasn't all lost on me. He clearly was inspired by the ludicrous $15 "event parking" opposite the Centre and managed to rant for a while about that in his ironic and cute kind of way, stating that without him there'd be no event and yet he doesn't get a cut, before setting into another BM track, then stopping his strumming and reiterating "But I don't get a cut." Guess you had to be there, but it became the running joke of the evening, not getting a cut. It's the kind of unrehearsed gold that makes concerts worth the wait and expense. It's a beautiful thing.

So, some negatives to the evening, but I'm glad as hell I went, thanks to GayBoy's birthday gift. Matt's the original classic alt-rocker, but he's much more than what it seems. He's original, outspoken, political, interested in the world at large, and really has killer vocals that fill a beautiful theatre like The Centre. Man, did his vocals work that room. Throw in the haunting, stripped-down acoustic feel, and I'd say it was probably one of the more memorable concerts I've attended, in pretty rare air like shows like The Kills, the first real time I saw Wil, Santana, U2, the Stones 'cos they're the Stones, the Hip at Seabird Island, Ben Harper, hmmm.... Ed Harcourt's experimental Dick's solo performance (harmonica, upright piano, silly old acoustic guitar, and Ed Harcourt? Priceless), Grant Lee Buffalo at the Starfish Room (RIP), BRMC... yep. It's up there with some pretty good gigs.

Pity I forgot my camera.

And the t-shirt of the night award went to the guy wearing the one that said this:

"A city
built on rock and roll
would be
structurally sound."

BTW, the highlight of the gig was when Matt dedicated a Simon and Garfunkle cover, Keep the Customer Satisfied, that was about as infectious and fun as a track can be. Nice work, Matt. Great, great rendition there, and I could see by the heads bopping and smiling faces that I wasn't the only one pleasantly surprised in the middle of this moody gig. (C'mon, the new album's called "Hospital Music" and is all about his evil ex who was in it for the dough and his rehabbing his divorce, a record of him licking his wounds. Needless to say, the evening had a somewhat sombre tone, excepting his often-hilarious "repartee" in between tracks.)