I’m not sure why this show wasn’t sold out because it kicked ass. M. (Matt) Ward was superb. Having just released A Wasteland Companion in April, I was apprehensively prepared to hear a bunch of new tracks, but to my delight, he played a lot of great old ones – some gems from Post War like Poison Cup, an awesome version of Rollercoaster with a sick violin accompaniment, and of course Chinese Translation. He even went five albums back for Helicopter and closed the show with a solo performance of the instrumental Duet for Guitar #3.
Matt has such a cool guitar playing style. It almost sounds metallic at times the way he picks it out and slaps the guitar (and no, I did not misspell Metallica – fudge those guys). He’s got a really unique earthy voice too. Sometimes its soft and soothing, other times he’s belting shit out. What a cool guy. He switched between a sexy black Gibson, I think maybe it was a Jonhy A, and an acoustic or two. His old pal Mike Coykendall was by his side as he seems to usually be. Mike broke at least two strings rocking a little too hard.
I saw him at Schuba’s earlier this year, which was of course more intimate, but I think they rocked a lot harder at this show. They had these cool paned windows hanging behind them that they projected cool stuff on like clouds. →
The opener, Lee Ranaldo Band, was kind of lame. They jammed pretty hard in a couple songs, like the singer played an overdriven electric in open tuning with a bow, but after like 10 seconds, it just sounded like noisy shit. I think they lost me when Lee started to say “We’ve got a new record..” and then stopped himself and said “Well, I’ve got a record out. These guys play on it.” He kind of sounded like a dick. I give them a C minus – but I’ve seen much worse openers.
Even with a mediocre opener, thumbs up – go M.
Slider photo by Rebecca Wilson and no, it’s not from this show. Yes – I am not cool.