Words by Samar Maguire
Before I saw Matt Corby perform for the second time, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that this was going to be a much larger audience for him. Corby himself stated in interviews that he doesn’t feel like he’s a large audience musician. His music is chilled, avant-garde and meaningful. Beyond the charts.
You have to pay attention. Listen with your hearts, as well as your ears – something that conventional entertainment doesn’t usually give listeners. As for aspects of performance like audience participation or group singing, while you can expect some, more often than not it’s more about the musical experience. Songs that are completely out of the average vocal range, likely to impregnate you without you realising.
And that’s exactly what he did. He impregnated us all. Even audiences on the periphery, clearly only there for a night out as they talked throughout the night. Matt Corby is an inevitability as he gushes through your insides, filling you with colourful rainbows, butterflies and a nascent foetus waiting to pop out of your orifice at any moment.
The biggest cheers of the night came when he performed ‘Resolution’ from his previous album and, of course, ‘Brother’, his best known song. At the beginning of the night, instead of ‘whooping’ like a normal person, members of the crowd would ‘woo-a-woo’ as a tribute to the song, albeit terribly, as each of them coughed in shame after their attempt.
But quintessential Matt shone through with his new song, ‘Monday’, exquisitely performed with his looping pedal. You did fear the pedal absorbing the crowd’s claps – much to life’s disdain, there’s nothing worse than clapping – though it was fine.
Songs from his new album, Telluric (2016), were on show, such as ‘Knife Edge’, which somehow reminded me of long-lost RnB artist Musiq Soulchild, and ‘Sooth Lady Wine’, a 70s number imbued with feelings of psychedelia and a promotion of nature.
Matt wasn’t as good as last time, but he was masterful. And definitely the most talented musician I’ve seen live. While Matt could do with some more songs aimed towards larger venues and could work on his audience participation, it might just be the brainwashed, entertainment seeker in me talking. After all, his musicianship will blow you away and his voice will impregnate you. What more could you want?
The show took place at Manchester Arena on Saturday 5th March, 2016.