Concert Review: Matt Mays & El Torpedo, Arkells
|11-Nov-2008 09:00 pm||Contributed by: pete||Concert Reviews|
Matt Mays & El Torpedo
Phoenix Concert Theatre in Toronto, Ontario on November 6, 2008
Full Photo Set (18 photos)
There are few concerts I've been to, if any, that included more musician-based support in the audience than I noticed at the Matt Mays & El Torpedo show last week. Everywhere I turned, there were people I knew that were either musicians themselves, or in the music business. This is important because gaining that much respect in the music industry just can't come easily, yet Matt Mays seems to have achieved exactly that.
Matt Mays & El TorpedoThe last time I saw Matt Mays he was holding a Guitar Hero controller in his hands, and the time before that was at Virgin Festival 2006 where I only heard him perform a few songs. So this was really the first time I managed to see what a full Matt Mays & El Torpedo performance was like. Matt seems to have adjusted his image a bit over the past two years, with longer hair and entering the stage wearing a white jacket and vest with skinny white pants to go with his visually stunning Gretsch White Flacon guitar. Matt is a charismatic performer, with a genuine beaming smile and a casual style that adds to the charisma level. His motions are sincere, and even when he was pounding his chest over his heart to go with the lyrics, it didn't seem forced... it just seemed like that is what he was doing when he wrote the lyrics. Good performer? Very much.
As for the music, I could've sworn I'd listened to his latest album, Terminal Romance, all the way through at least once, yet I don't have it in my iTunes and I can't seem to find the CD around, so perhaps I'm just imagining it. Either way, Matt Mays & El Torpedo play rock. Rock that has been, without any doubt, influenced by Tom Petty. In fact, there was one song that sounded so much like Tom Petty that I wondered if they were maybe playing a cover (and it wasn't Tall Trees, which also demonstrates this influence, although in a more subtle way). However, I gather this is an uninteresting observation to any Matt Mays fan since it is probably just a given. But for those who are new to Matt Mays & El Torpedo, consider this a very strong Recommended-If-You-Like suggestion. Oh, and don't take this paragraph the wrong way, there are other influences as well... like The Clash inspired Rock Ranger Record... so I'm not implying unoriginal, I'm just laying down some context.
The set was structured such that the band brought out the rock to begin with, and then Matt performed a three song interlude in the middle where he was solo on acoustic, and then the band returned with the rock again. It had a nice flow, and as far as I could tell, catered well to his biggest fans. Actually, one of the best things about being out at a concert like this is that I get to meet the real fans and observe their level of dedication, and although I can't speak for the entire room, the first 10 rows of people (or so) were very open about their love for the music.
Info: Matt Mays & El Torpedo | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Building A Boat (mp3, video), Tall Trees (mp3, video)
ArkellsHalf of the reason I was at this show is because it was yet another opportunity to see the Arkells perform, a band that I discovered for the first time during CMW 2008 and have been following ever since. They released an EP called Deadlines earlier this year which I've been overplaying, and then (thankfully) on October 28th they released their debut full-length album called Jackson Square.
The Arkells were given a good 50 minutes on stage, enough to run through most of their new material in a set that built up to their tried and true material and closed with Oh The Boss Is Coming!, a song that is now getting some air time on 102.1. They are definitely one of my current favourite bands, and this performance just reinforced that fact, causing me to walk around singing Tragic Flaw in my head for days. They were an excellent choice as an opener for Matt Mays, since there is definitely some affinity between the bands. Max Kerman (vocals, guitar) commented that it was a special night for them because they remember coming to the Phoenix years ago to see a show and Matt Mays was the opening band, and now the Arkells were at the Phoenix opening for Matt Mays. Pretty cool.
Info & Connect: Arkells on MySpace, Facebook
Media: Oh The Boss Is Coming! (video)
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