Under The Elmo Candlelight

Matt York
El Mocambo
April 29, 2005
The line-up getting into the Elmo was quite deceiving. Realizing this was due to the event upstairs the bouncer allowed us access to the main level. Matt York had asked each person attending to bring a non-perishable food item for the Daily Bread Foodbank. A great cause and displays the character of the event as well. We dropped our items in the box and headed to the entrance. Before entering the room there was a table with a few ladies behind the desk checking the door. We were given a ticket and obtained a cd. It is delightful thing when the persons working the door welcome you with that feeling of wanting each person there. With cd in hand we made our way inside a full capacity crowd. With the lights down low, candles lit and vibe of the crowd - the tone of the evening was set. Unlike other venues this event felt immediately chill.

Opening the night was Peter Katz. His name at the time sounded familiar to me - perhaps I had caught his act before? With guitar strapped to his shoulder he ushered everyone with ease into the night. His facial expressions reminded me a lot like the lead singer from "Our Lady Peace". This man is not scared to share his strong vocal proficiency and bared it alone on this stage. His lyrics are brilliantly descriptive which allows you to escape into a world that he creates. Honorable mentions to the songs: "Apples & Seaside Caf╚". A really sweet combo of folk and jazz. A surprise to me was a duel between his guitar and his harmonica. No lack of talent here.

The other act that stood alone was Tomi Swick. There was a complementary duo with a second person of no name. Unfortunately this second person's name was not listed on the bill. I had a hard time finding someone who knew the name of the other guitarist/vocalist. The upper vs. lower harmonies and guitar were appealing. A nice transformation away from the previous two acts. Just a slight enough difference to keep the interest of the viewers.

During the evening the focus was more on the discussions with others than having all eyes on stage. There is not a problem with this. The music played more of a background theme. That is until Matt York hit the stage.

The attention of the audience shifted once Matt was standing. His guitar and vocals came in which immediately seemed hypnotic to those around. People were swaying and moving in space to the funky and soulful blend. Not every song was played with that tone but it carried that vibe. This 23 year olds lyrical innocence and demeanor really captivates listeners. The best word to describe him would be honest. He habitually speaks the truth with his words. "Going downtown to ease my mind, guitar in hand and a plan soon leave it all behind. Said, I am leaving on this train tonight. The hustle and bustle of the city is mine tonight. Sometimes, I just need to get away. Take a ride. Leave my worries and play. The city she whispers, calls my name tells me to come downtown" (excerpt from "Urban Romance"). He seems to be able to do this with or without other musicians. However, that the bassist, keyboardist and drummer are equally brilliant talent - additionally flowering his music to life. Bring on the buzz, Matt York is here to stay.

For a taste of his sound click here: http://www.matt-york.com/

Writer: Penny Hayward


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