If you came to the Mod Club expecting a blasting, loud rock'n Matt Mays, sans El Torpedo, you may have been disappointed. This show didn't have anywhere near the extreme volume that Mays and El Torpedo are infamous for. The volume wasn't lacking, it was actually pleasant and perfect for the theatrical atmosphere needed to view these astoundingly talented artists.
Matt Mays and his entourage of musicians, all nine of them, playing an array of instruments including a synthesizer, glockenspiel, a turntable and two drum kits, and led us through a surreal but too short sixty minute set. Playing When The Angels Make Contact in it's entirety from start to finish, even if you had never heard the CD or the story behind it, you had to leave knowing you just witnessed greatness.
Matt, dressed in a stunning red velvet blazer, matching tie and shades, wasted little time with idle chit chat, instead he let his brilliant lyrics and ambient soundscapes transport us into the saga of WTAMC. The story goes that Angels was to be the soundtrack for the same titled film, which Mays wrote and was to produce and star in. Though some of the plot is fuzzy, it tells the tale of a ruffian heartbroken man who comes across a dead motorcyclist, steals his bike and ventures across the country in search of his missing love. Along the way he is haunted by evils both supernatural and within himself. The film was ultimately shelved due to the lack of cash needed to keep it off the ground. Throughout the night we were treated to glimpses of the unfinished movie, played on screens flanking the stage. If he ever finishes it, it would be rent worthy for the music alone and has the potential to become a cult classic.
The eclectic set had everything from the funky instrumental, "J.J's Theme", the reggae beat of, "The Dartmouth Soundsystem" and the gritty rawness of "850 Commando". The mournful acoustic performances of two of my favs, "Heroine" and the title track had a weightless drifting quality that you couldn't help swaying along to it.
That would have been the highlight for me until the angel, Alanna Stuart, stepped up to sing "Under My Senses", the latest single. This esoteric track, sung eerily sexy as Matt had a seat and accompanied on guitar, is oddly beautiful. Alanna's silky, soothing pipes perfectly complimented Mays throughout the night but she absolutely shone on her own. Angelic.
Together, this sizable combo played brilliantly all night. The only disappointment was the much cried for encore that never came. It wasn't until Matt himself poked his head out and gave the official "it's over" sign that the relentless crowd began to leave.
Mays definitely made contact tonight but an encore performance of the hit When The Angels Make Contact would have been heavenly.
Writer: Lisa Kerr