Last night I headed back down the highway to Picton to my newly found and now my favourite venue The Acoustic Grill to watch the very talented Matthew Barber. I still urge everyone to catch at least one show at this place. The size of the venue makes you feel as if the artist is playing just for you.
This was the second time that I have watch Matthew Barber play live and in a solo environment. The last time I saw Matt Barber was at the Grad Club when he played with his sister Jill Barber.
Watching Matt play at this venue was fantastic and somehow I ended up with the best seats in the house with a table right in front of the stage. I could hear him perfectly without the speakers which was great. His amp that he brought with him drew a couple of heads and questions his way. It was really the shape and the age of the amp that grabbed everyone’s attention, the amp is from 1954 and still in pretty good condition for the age and the fact that it is a touring amp. The sound that still came out of the amp was very surprising it sounded really great even though it was only used for about two or three songs.
Matt played two sets which were around an hour each. It has to be something about this venue because we got to hear new songs that was his first time playing them for a crowd. This happened as well with the last show that I saw at The Acoustic Grill. Matt played songs from his older releases a few off his latest album and a couple from his upcoming album that he is working on, and the brand new songs that just saw the light of day.
It is not many concerts that I go to where I enjoy all of the songs that were played throughout the night but I loved every song that Matt played last night. One of my favourite songs that he played was the one song that he performed from the play that he was asked to write the entire score from. It had a Hank Williams touch to it as well as a Huge Johnny Cash ( I’m going to Jackson) sound to it. There was also the breakup song that was really good, for the most part I enjoyed listening to the lyrics and almost zoned out the guitar completely. In a few of his songs the guitar playing was a little quiet due to the finger picking and then almost as a attention grabber he would run his pick or fingers hard up and down on the strings and kind of give everybody a little startle. Another great factor that made the night more enjoyable was the fact that Matt explained the meaning of the songs or the interests that brought him into writing the songs. There was a couple of songs where Matt started to sing the song and at the end of the first verse he started to talk about the County which led him to forgot where he was in the song and had to start over again, and right there is when you know that you are at a live show where the artist is there to play and have a good time rather than just playing.
Matt also asked the audience to make suggestions in which songs that we wanted to hear I was going to yell out a couple of songs but someone beat me to the punch and brought up a napkin full of songs for Matt to choose through.
As well as Matt being an amazing singer and lyricist I find that I am also drawn in by his guitar playing it is not very often where you see him play a straight up and down cord rather he finger picks throughout most of his songs which in turn I find gives his songs more depth then they would if they were played with straight chords. And I could never forget about his Harmonica playing. Every time that he used his harmonicas his songs jumped out even more out into the room . If that doesn’t add to an acoustic show nothing does. Matt had a good five or six harmonicas that he had spread out on a seat.
Since Matt has graced the Acoustic Grill stage I imagine that he may be back in the sometime near future and I would highly recommend that you make the trip out to The Acoustic Grill or if Matt Barber is playing near you need to check him out.