Matt Corby @ The Bodega, Nottingham, 24.11.12 : Star in Waiting

Singer/songwriter extraordinaire, Mr Corby.
Photo by JPW

I’ve been a fan of Matt Corby’s music for a while now – each winter has seen me considerably cheered by the arrival of one of his EPs from Australia; I did therefore find it a bit weird going to see him live. He sings and writes songs like a well-seasoned veteran; in the flesh I could see how young he really is. However, a few minutes into this gig and thoughts of age became completely irrelevant.

Only an artist with a hefty amount of self belief and talent can enter the stage like Matt does and go on to hold a club full of people captive with only voice and guitar; he stole in noiselessly, there was no fanfare, no acknowledgement of the audience, he simply stood there and launched straight into “Big Eyes.” After an initial restlessness, the crowd were stunned to silence. Rufus Wainwright pulled off a similar feat on his “All Days are Nights” tour, but in feathers and a seventeen foot train.

Bree and ChrisPhoto by JPW
Bree and Chris
Photo by JPW

Matt doesn’t really do banter or smile often – although he did relay the melancholy story behind “Untitled” – a girl who jilted him by thirteen paged letter – during some numbers he barely lifted his eyes. Every bit of emotion is saved for his vocal performance. And what a voice he has!  It ranges from a tremulous silken whisper to a tremendous full throated scream and has the power to stun – which he did -hundreds of people.   During slow numbers such as “Untitled” – and “Beggars and Thieves” the audience was uncannily quiet, people were actually sushing each other.

His band aren’t exactly run of the mill either. In numbers such as “What the Devil Has Made” and “Souls a Fire” they whipped up a rip-roaring- blues-infused musical storm:  Bree Tranter’s ethereal voice and presence is the perfect foil to Matt’s thunderous vocal and shy seriousness; uber cool drummer, Chris Maas’s performance was sharp as his cheekbones; the two bearded guitarists beefed up the sound mightily.  The performances of the evening for me at least, were poles apart, the sublime acoustic number, “Untitled” and “Souls a Fire” which built feverishly verse upon verse until it felt like the walls would most likely, burst. I was also thrilled to hear them end with “My False”, one of the most upbeat of any of his songs, which unfortunately still isn’t available to buy or download in the UK.

Matt gets soulful.
Photo by JPW

Matt’s songs are what I’d call “slow burners” – their awesomeness is revealed gradually, they’re more from the thoughtful/romantic school, such as your Wainwrights and Buckleys than anything you’re likely to find in the current crop of top downloads. Surely peeps it’s time we had something a little more extraordinary and original, dominating our airwaves – i.e. this top quality sort of stuff?

It is fantastic to see how Matt’s popularity is growing in this country; “Into the Flame” has just been released over here and as this concert proves, he’s at last finally managing to play venues other than London. Don’t be fooled by his boy band-ish blue eyed exterior – this one time Aussie Pop Idol runner up is the genuine article – I feel extremely privileged to have had the chance to see him live whilst he’s still playing small(ish) venues like the Bodega, because I’ve the feeling he’s going to be huge!

Set list:

  • Big Eyes
  • Kings, Queens, Beggars and Thieves
  • Runaway
  • Made of Stone
  • Brother
  • Untitled
  • What The Devil Has Made
  • Souls ‘a Fire
  • Lonely Boy (Black Key’s Cover)
  • My False

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