Saturday, May 14, 2011

Review: Matt Walters, Farewell Youth album and launch - the Vanguard


Music is a very powerful thing. It is one of the most important aspects of my life and one of the only constants as everything else changes. However, it can also be very hit-or-miss. Sometimes it just doesn’t speak to you or touch you on a personal level. I am glad to say that while this does sometimes occur, it is practically erased when you listen to the good.

Let’s introduce Matt Walters, a lovely, intellectual singer-songwriter who hails from Melbourne. I first saw him perform live two years in what has always remained a magical experience for me. As the opening act to Jenny Lewis, I had no idea what to expect from him. But it was definitely a hit. His voice is extremely soothing and his guitar work is amazing. He doesn’t rely on only love songs to tell a story and instead sings about many different aspects of life, such as friendship, hell and murder.

So, when you wait for someone to tour for two years, and after you’ve hyped up the experience in your mind, it can a bit scary going back. What if the magic didn’t exist? What if it’s lost, buried in a memory and cannot be revived? Needless to say, going to see Matt Walters this past Wednesday did not disappoint. The magic has remained.

Matt’s new album, Farewell Youth, has just been released and this record release show at the Vanguard was exactly that for him; as his first headlining show in Sydney, to a room of people there just for him, it was a definite departure from his earlier days of being the opening act.

The lovely Leena fulfilled this role, with her pretty melodies and delicate “anti-love songs”. Switching between piano and guitar, she belted out harmonies with her guitarist, Steve, and was ever so grateful to the audience. Her charisma on stage was charming and she even got a cry of “I love you” from one eager audience member. Not bad for a support act.

Matt then took the stage, with a full band in tow. This was the first time he’d played with a band in a couple of years and you could tell he was enjoying the accompaniment. Mainly playing songs from his new album (something he eventually stopped saying, when he realised it was fairly obvious), you could tell that these songs all meant something special to him and he was glad to share them. A lovely acoustic version of the non-album track Talking In My Sleep was a stand out, as he rocked out all alone on the stage, but completely in the zone. He humbly thanked the audience and shared stories of his long journey to record the album, stating he was really proud of it. Always nice to know.

The debut album is an amazing array of songs, showcasing Matt’s abilities and proving he not only loves what he does, but that he does it with his whole heart in it. The backing band is a welcome addition to his music and flows so naturally with his sound. Personal experiences make up the album, along with songs that sound like love songs, but are actually about murder, something Matt kindly pointed out. The album also features many guest performances, including Megan Washington, who is also quickly increasing in popularity.

One of my favourite songs on the album is Conversation. Check out the video and be sure not to miss this guy. Who knows where he’ll be in five years time.


p.s. I request You and Your Holy Ghost for the next show.

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