The small venue meant a very small and intimate crowd where the audience and performer could truly interact.
Opening the show was former singer of The Seahorses, Chris Helme. It had been 15 years since he last played in Belfast and he certainly did not disappoint his audience. His first song, alone, was enough to justify paying for a ticket to the show. His melancholic tone with uplifting beats thrown in made his set downright brilliant.
Every single song was fantastic however, one that really caught the crowd was the fourth song called ‘Summer Girl’. This is the first song in which he uses a pick on his guitar. His low husky voice creates a somewhat cheerful tone with a melancholic under-layer when you sit back and truly listen to the lyrics. The interaction with the audience was very chilled (as was the entire set) with some bits of collaboration where the audience were asked to clap and stomp throughout the entire final song. This was a fantastic way to end the set and to get the audience ready to see Scott.
After a very brief interval, out came Scott Matthews. If I were to sum up the entire gig in one word it would definitely have to be ‘chilled’. He started off with a bit of light interaction and humour as he tuned his guitar. He opened with a brand new song, ‘Virginia’ which had some fantastic effects with a somewhat cosmic affect, done entirely through the guitar. The entire room just sat back and let the man play his guitar and sing. Everything he did seemed so effortless that it was incredibly easy to just sit back and listen to what he had to play.
Throughout his set, Scott was singing as though it was as easy as breathing. His interchangeable tones throughout one single song along with his intricate guitar playing, and sometimes harmonica, made his show simple yet brilliant. The oldest song of the set (written in 2003) which he did not name was simply amazing. The intro had a very ‘From Dusk Till Dawn’ feel to it. As he kicks in with the vocals we see raw emotion on the stage as he is playing a song that has clear meaning to him, and he was able to share this emotion with the audience. The quiet and calm ending made the song all the more dramatic.
He also played some new songs as well as his old ones which were similar in that the lyrics of every song sounded like pure poetry. We are not watching him sing and play a guitar, we’re watching him tell us a story that we are now a part of by being there and watching him. The juxtaposition of the guitar and harmonica throughout added an entire new dimension to an already fantastic show. His intricate guitar work also never failed to have my jaw dropping as it appeared he wasn’t even paying attention to it, it was almost natural.
Due to a curfew Scott was forced to cut his show short but wow, I cannot fault it at all. He ended the show with nothing else that the complex use of his voice in which he experiments with different tones and pitches. It was the perfect end to an incredible show. My only complaint is that I would have loved to have seen a duet with Scott and Chris. Definitely look out for these two and any new music they have coming out, they are both extremely talented artists. Chantelle Frampton, GiggingNI.com