|Matthew Good at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre in Toronto on November 3, 2011. (PHOTO: Veronica Henri, QMI Agency)
TORONTO - Matthew Good held the Can-rock flag high on Thursday night at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre as the veteran Vancouver musician kicked off a two-night stand, delivering a passionate performance that was big on drama and laughs.
Joined by Matthew Good Band drummer Ian Browne for the first time in a decade, along with guitarist James Reid, bassist Milos Angelov and keyboardist Anthony Wright, the trembling-voiced Good got things off to an appopriately dramatic start with show opener, Set Me On Fire, from his latest album, Lights Of Endangered Species.
The title of the new disc was a hint that Good’s latest live show would be big on lighting and so while Good began the opening song almost in shadows, save for two house lamps, moments later five curved lighting stands sprang to life washing the stage in red.
The rowdy, rambunctious crowd went nuts and never really let up in either their volume or appreciation as the hour-and-40-minute concert progressed, often clapping and singing along, and standing entirely for the three song encore.
One gets the sense Good’s fans feel like they know him like a brother and can say shout out anything they feel like.
Or just scream maniacally like one woman did, completely freaking Good out.
“Holy s--t,” said Good. “I just lost the upper 10 decibals of my hearing. Are you okay?”
Good, in turn, seemed very comfortable on stage, alternating between electric or acoustic guitar or no guitar at all, casually chatting away between songs, also pretending to make up a song and play jazz, and dedicating one tune, A Silent Army In The Trees, to Iraq veteran and injured Occupy Oakland demonstrator Scott Olsen.
He even playfully turned on one of his roadies early in the show trying to balance his drink on the guy’s back while he crawled on his hands and knees from the front of the stage to the back.
“The 14 feet from here to here is just a bitch,” Good jokingly complained on how he had to go back and forth on his own steam.
Song highlights ranged from dynamic, expansive new songs like Set Me On Fire, What If I Can’t See The Stars Mildred?, Zero Orchestra and Shallows Low and older crowd faves like the Future Is X-Rated and Weapon.
The three standouts, however were the powerful rocker Load Me Up, with some impressive playing from the uniformly great sounding Reid, and the hushed Apparitions and While We Were Hunting Rabbits, the latter featuring just Good and keyboardist Wright, once again back in shadows.
Good’s voice is such an emotional-sounding instrument, it’s hard not to be moved by it.
Set Me on Fire
What If I Can’t See The Stars Mildred?
The Future Is X-Rated
Load Me Up
A Silent Army in the Trees
While We Were Hunting Rabbits
Alert Status Red