For those new to the blog, a cautionary note: Matthew Good is my favourite artist. I may fangirl a bit. My apologies. And now, you understand why this show deserved its own post.
Matthew Good is an icon of the Canadian music scene, and deservedly so. Delivering hit single after hit single in Matthew Good Band and as a solo artist, his gift for blending metaphor, politics, and raw truths most public figures would shy away from confessing makes him a true treasure. He’s also unafraid when it comes to exploring new territory within his folk-alt-rock realm. His latest release, 2011’s Lights Of Endangered Species is the perfect example of his bold creativity and refusal to kowtow to the mass music marketing machine, and it is perhaps one of his finest albums to date.
All that said, Matthew also understands how to craft a set for an audience, and as I predicted, Friday’s set for NXNE focused on the hits and back catalogue, with the pace uptempo for much of the night. I certainly don’t mean that as a negative: I love Matthew’s more rocking shows, love watching him trading riffs and belting out choruses with gusto. As someone who became a fan late into the lifespan of Matthew Good Band, I still delight in hearing the old staples now and again. My half-hearted apologies to those who’ve seen Matt 40 times and are sick of “Hello Time Bomb”: some of us have only heard the song nine times and aren’t even close to tired of it. For the casual fans, the set was familiar save a few treats from LOES and a fun party for a Friday night; for the hardcore fans, it’s never a bad set when it opens with “Giant”.
Matthew’s usual stage banter also came to the show, with complaints about the constant barrage from the smoke machines (“We’re not Echo & The Bunnymen!”) and quips about the omnipresent ads in the square, something the bands ripped on all night, to my delight. I would expect nothing less from someone with a keen understanding of politics – and advertising is, indeed, political. Charming and amused by “jazz odyssey” interlude before slower numbers, Matthew Good brought heart to the show and showed NXNE how to fill a stage with sheer talent.
Setlist: Matthew Good at Yonge Dundas Square, NXNE
Alert Status Red
Hello Time Bomb
The Future Is X-Rated
Load Me Up
Everything Is Automatic