After being introduced to Matt Corby‘s Jeff Buckley-esque voice and later finding out that his career started with a stint on Australian idol, what I was expecting from his live show was based solely on YouTube videos and internet hype. And hype is a funny thing.
Stepping into Whelans that evening, I was met by an overwhelming number of Australians intermingling in the packed out and sweaty, oestrogen riddled crowd that was to be Matt Corby’s audience, all attempting, unsuccessfully mind you, their own renditions of his most popular song Brother, with none of the grace, nor piercing vocal capacity of the man himself.
Whelans was sold out, and to no surprise as Corby’s reputation appears to precede him. He had the audience, now it was time to see if the “most beautiful man alive” was also worth of previous comparisons such as Jeff Buckley at the spritely age of twenty two.
But first, let’s look at the opening acts.
Slow Skies took the stage as the crowd continued to exchange conversation among themselves, and unperturbed by this, Karen Sheridan persevered and proved her own piercing vocals and charming stage presence were enough to win the crowd over before ending her first song. A set that was mixed with old and new material, this looks to be Slow Skies last Dublin show before they go off to record and release some new material.
They were followed by Bears Den, who soon had the Mumford and Sons comparisons on the lips of most of the audience. If for no other reason than they had a banjo. Playing upon Slow Skies already rousing set, Bears Den had no issues keep the crowd entertained with their popular folk based melodies and vocal harmonies with intermittent stories of recording their debut EP in middle of no where Wales. What happens in Wales, stays in Wales, except their EP of course.
The man of the evening, Matt Corby, took to the stage late into the night, the crowd clamoured forward as if to breath in every essence of his being. Joking aside, Corby’s talent is obvious from the beginning, with a voice that justifiably matches the comparisons he receives with Jeff Buckley, soaring on the high notes whilst being able to bring it down to a husky gravelly sound when hitting the low.
Corby’s opening tracks, particularly that of Big Eyes (played solo), captivated the crowd and brought a hushed silence into Whelans like I’ve never heard. He was quickly joined by his full band for the second track which the audience continued to listen to in silence. It was following a third instance of this that the crowd were finally roused into participating with cat calls and shouts of approval. Corby remained fairly silent throughout the show, concentrating hard on playing, whilst systematically shushing the audience for being too loud.
Brother predictably caused the biggest audience response, with many trying and failing to mimic the unique vocal yelping that punctuates the song, much to the amusement of the band themselves. Introducing us to a new track and playing his much loved cover of The Black Keys ‘Lonely Boy, the set was well rounded if not somewhat lacking towards the end.
Corby’s attitude towards the crowd did little to help this reviewers opinion of the man himself but I wasn’t there for him, I was there for the music and that’s where Corby and his band shine and will continue to shine, even if he feels the need to disengage from the crowd when not sharing sob stories of past loves that influenced his music.