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 . 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.
Glad you had a good time and that Mat exceeded your expectations!!
@matkearney has a new fan, thanks to @allthingsfadra! Thank you Fadra for taking me to the show last night. Am just about to go to itunes to download his cd’s! Love, love, love me some Mat.
I bought his song Undeniable today because I realized I didn’t have that one. I reloaded all songs and it’s STILL funky. No Phil Collins though. So glad you came!!
I love, love, love Mat Kearney and have for years. I’m jealous!
If you love him, you would LOVE his show. Truly enjoyable!
I am totally kicking myself for not signing up for the Mat Kearney project on One2One.I really wanted to go to the show, but alas we were all sick anyway.
Glad you got to see Leagues too. I love Thad!
I was not in a concert mood and wished I didn’t have to go last night. But once I got there, I was determined to stay to the end. It was amazing! I had never heard of Leagues before.
Ahh! Cat’s Cradle / Seagrove is right near my office, and Armadillo is one of my favorite places for a quick bite. Hope you enjoyed my neck of the woods 🙂
The only other time I have been there was to go to Cat’s Cradle with my younger brother. We saw Cibo Matto (very strange group). I felt old then but at least this time there was a mix of young and old in the audience.
It’s an entirely different medium, live shows versus recorded music. Sort of akin to movies and television. Some actors can perform very well in both crafts, others obviously perform better in one arena than the other.
The same is true of musicians. I’ve seen 147 bands live this year, and I don’t think I’ve walked away disappointed more than five times. It’s a much more intimate experience than listening to music on your ipod or cd of record player. There’s been some bands that I didn’t like as much after seeing live, but like you, in about 98% of the cases I liked the band even better after seeing them live.
I’m really picky about live shows. I want to have a reason to see them live. I love James Taylor but his live shows sound EXACTLY like his recorded music. He’s consistent but I want something a little different when I go to a show. On the other hand, I saw Counting Crows many (many) years ago and the liberties taken with the melodies made the songs unrecognizable. I like to at least be able to sing to it.
I’m definitely a big fan after this show. Great all the way around.