It’s my second post about Mat Kearney and you’re just going to have to bear with me. A few weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to review his new album “Young Love” and I did just that. I gave it a good review but not a raving review. I said it was good music but nothing you could dance to and he’s an okay singer.
I’ll admit it’s been a long time since I’ve been to a concert or seen live music. (It might have even been when my friend Heather dragged me to see a very old, very bedraggled Def Leppard.) Well, here’s what I remembered last night:
How an artist sounds live and plays to the audience can totally change my opinion of them.
Here’s how that happened last night.
This time I did the dragging and took my friend Heather with me to the show. She’s was only a little familiar with Mat Kearney, which I suspected, so I quickly loaded the “Young Love” album on my iPhone before heading out to pick her up. We wanted to listen to the music to get in the mood for the show.
Alas, I was defeated by technology. I plugged my iPhone into the USB port in my car and we were set to get into the groove. First problem, I couldn’t play “Hey Mama,” his current popular song and the catchiest tune that kids and grown-ups both like to bounce around to. Yeah, for some reason, it didn’t get copied over. Whatevs.
So I went to my second favorite song, “Ships in the Night,” and was immediately surprised when it didn’t sound as hip as I remembered. It had almost an 80s sound to it.
Yeah, my car did not index the music on my iPhone properly so it decided to play us Genesis “Abacab” instead. Okay, mess up #2. I’ll play the next song: “Abacab” and then followed by “Abacab.” It’s like Phil Collins was personally trying to sabotage the evening. We could not be stopped, Phil Collins be damned.
We pulled up to Cat’s Cradle shortly before the doors opened and saw a line wrapping around the building for the sold out show. It’s a tiny college town and we were wondering where we could park my mom mobile and inconspicuously blend in to the under 21 crowd.
I found a parking space front and center in the parking lot of Seagrove Pottery. It’s a local artisan shopped and had just closed for the day. I thought it would be okay to park there. We talked to one of the artists still inside and she said she thought it might be okay if we parked there. Then I used my celebrity powers and told her I was a blogger there to review the show next door and I’d gladly give them a shout out in my post.
She sent good parking vibes our way and we headed to grab a bit before the show. Headed over to Armadillo Grill and was reminded once again, this is a college town. I ordered a chicken soft taco and a Bud Light. The cashier had to call the manager from the back to grab my beer and open the top. She wasn’t old enough to serve it to me. How cute.
But enough about me. Let’s talk about the show. We briefly stopped out front of the venue and got on the tour bus to talk to Mat. Okay, no we didn’t but maybe if we knocked really hard he would have at least stuck his head out and told us to go away. That’s Heather, by the way, looking divine.
We got to the show in time to catch some of the opening act Leagues. I thought their music was okay. It wasn’t my favorite but wasn’t awful. YOU, however, may love it which is why I’m linking to them here because I love supporting up and coming artists. Plus, I got the lead singer to take a picture with me.
Oh wait. I’m still talking about me. Let’s get to the show.
I always have a few fears when I’m seeing an artists in concert for the first time:
- They’ll sing off key
- They’ll have no range
- They’ll have no onstage presence
- They won’t play to the audience
- They’ll sound worse in person
- It’ll be too loud (yeah, I’m old)
- You’ll be able to tell why their album sounds overproduced
I am thrilled to report that Mat sounds better in person, has an amazing voice, switches octaves with the greatest of ease, needs no backup on vocals, has great onstage presence, and TOTALLY played to the audience. That was my favorite part.
He actually walked out into the crowd and played. He did a little freestyle rap mentioning both Tarheels and Carolina on My Mind. The crowd of proud North Carolinians went wild. He has an amazing energy and the whole show felt, well, happy. Everyone was smiling and having fun.
I couldn’t sit still listening to the show which negates my whole review saying his music isn’t really dance pop. You wouldn’t go to a dance club to listen to the tunes but it definitely makes you want to move.
So here’s where I say, Mat Kearney is my muse. For today anyway. I loved the show. I loved his performance. And now I can’t stop listening to the CD that I previously thought was okay.
Disclosure: I was provided with two complimentary tickets to see Mat Kearney at Cat’s Cradle by One2One Network and asked to provide my honest review. You just read it.