- Jack Singer Concert Hall, Nov 15/09
Matthew Good is touring with a band again. And even though he messed up the words to Hello Time Bomb on Sunday night, and even though he declined a confrontation with a band mate because he was "winded as an 80-year-old man", he's still got the chops for rock n roll.
Sunday night's concert certainly proved that. After a few years of touring solo and playing dark acoustic shows, Matthew Good had no problems packing the house (and necessitating a second concert on Wednesday) with his return to his rock roots.
Vancouver power pop group Mother Mother opened the night with a polished and choreographed set. They were given a mixed reception. Most people clapped politely, but there were evidently some hardcore fans in the crowd too. It's not often you see people (albeit less than a handful) dancing in the aisles at Jack Singer. It's just not that sort of venue.
I wasn't sold on them musically, though. They were energetic enough and I am sure they are very nice people, but I found them to be almost annoying, melodically speaking. They've got the looks, they've got the clothes, but I think if you are going to go the power pop New Pornographers route, you have got to have the catchy hooks. It's imperative.
But of course, everyone was there to see Canada's premier rocker curmudgeon, Matthew Good, and he certainly did not disappoint, either musically or curmudgeonally. It's no wonder that he has such a long-standing reputation for being confrontational. It's partly because he is highly opinionated, with the brains and the passion to back up those opinions, and partly because the audiences at his concerts are filled with an inordinately high proportion of drunken yobs.
Fortunately, Matt Good can always be relied upon to put disruptive jerks in their place with his trademark stinging sarcasm that the rest of us find hilarious and highly satisfying. There were a few moments like that: the pointed look in the general direction of the offender, the pause, and then the zinger. Matthew Good has great timing and he does not tolerate fools.
Surprisingly there were no political rants. He did not once mention the Olympics nor any member of government. I guess even Matt Good has to take a night off from being the bulldog of the nation. And he certainly did seem relaxed, right down to the Pink Floyd tee shirt he was sporting.
But rants and wardrobe aside, Matt Good played a solid 90 minute set (plus 20 minute encore), heavily populated with songs from his newest album, Vancouver. It's a tribute to the drunks behind us that they knew all the words to the new songs, even though they shouted them instead of singing them like a normal person would. In amongst the new songs, Matt dipped back into Hospital Music, Avalanche, Beautiful Midnight, and even Underdogs for the rest of the set.
He obviously enjoyed playing with a band again. They sounded solid, like a band that has been together for a while, and there was a considerable amount of joie de vivre on-stage. It's not often you see the bassist leave the stage mid performance to go to the bathroom. And I doubt that in the old days of the Matthew Good Band, it would have been the occasion for good-natured jesting that it was on Sunday night.
We were particularly impressed with the young guitarist, and not just because he had perfected his awesome guitar hero stances either. He really could flail on that thing. More than once, his riffs launched a spontaneous outburst of applause.
It was great to witness Mr Good delivering an all out rock performance, complete with a stunning light show, again. That Pink Floyd tee shirt turned out to be appropriate after all. This was the fifth time that I have seen Matthew Good perform, yet only the second time with a band. Matthew Good the solo performer and Matthew Good the band frontman can coexist quite seamlessly, I think. He still has the powerful voice and he still has the presence; those will remain constant, regardless of how many people are on that stage.