Great fortune allowed me to spend my birthday at Matthew Good’s show in Peterborough, my first outing to the tour in support of his latest disc Vancouver (which I cannot recommend highly enough). The journey was long and filled with fog and snow flurries, but worth the venture.
Due to the nature of the Vancouver material (many longer tracks with extended instrumental jams reminiscent of older tracks like When We Were Hunting Rabbits), the shows on this tour are structured to flow from one track to another, with plenty of room for improvisation, drum and guitar solos, and a general ethereal atmosphere. One would think this would lend well to a resurgence of material from Matt`s first solo disc, Avalanche, but surprisingly, Matt didn’t go for it, opting instead for a set saturated in tracks from the latest disc, his previous release Hospital Music and perennial favourite of the Matthew Good Band discography, Beautiful Midnight. The end result was a show that moved between sets of rocking out and extended down notes. For a seasoned fan who appreciates everything the man does, it was a winning combination, with the exception of exiting the night on a down note with closer Empty’s Theme Park.
Highlights of the night included opener Born Losers, in spite of the venom of the previous tour being ditched for a more jaunty jab-like delivery, A Silent Army In The Trees, which was stirring and a fitting precursor to my personal favourite off the new album, The Vancouver National Anthem, and a tweaked version of Apparitions featuring slide guitar. Perhaps the only lowlight of the night was Great Whales of the Sea, which is admittedly better live, but simply felt like too much in a field crowded with longer tracks, and not as worthy of the time as the two aforementioned songs.
Matt delivered a fantastic rambling banter that carried the crowd through a discussion of how artists remember venues by their bathrooms and showers, to calling out the ‘zombie’ audience in Belleville (“They were acting like they were all on lithium – and I should know, since I’m easily the most medicated fucker in here tonight.”), to dissecting a showdown with a drunk in Kitchener and coming back around to being the sober friend stuck at a drunken bash of friends. In light of the insight and depth of his blogs, I wish Matthew would consider speaking tour engagements on politics and society; I would happily pay to listen to him speak.
Matthew’s tour of Canada wraps Friday and Saturday in Toronto (where I will be in attendance both nights), with a US tour slated for the new year.
SETLIST: Matthew Good @ Showplace, Peterborough, ON 12/14/09
I’m A Window
The Boy Who Could Explode
Load Me Up
Great Whales of the Sea
A Silent Army In The Trees
The Vancouver National Anthem
The Future Is X-Rated
A Single Explosion
Empty’s Theme Park