[LIVE REVIEW] Scott Matthews @ Union Chapel
SCOTT MATTHEWS | MAY 6TH, 2014 | UNION CHAPEL | LONDON
I had been waiting 6 years to see Scott Matthews in concert when I stumbled across an event listing for his UK tour showcasing his new album Home Part 1 a few weeks before the gig. Without a second thought, I booked the ticket and on a sunny Tuesday evening I made my way to one of my favourite London venues, the atmospheric Union Chapel in Islington.
The gig kicked off with a fantastic opening act by the very talented Chris Helme, whose mellow, thoughtful and folky vocals pierced the chapel with wandering riffs and beautiful melodies. He was accompanied by a guy playing a dulcimer, one of those odd but delightful instruments that Joni Mitchell used to play. He treated us not only to some of his more well-known songs, but also to some unfinished compositions, a rare privilege these days.
Then came Scott Matthews, the charming, witty, soft-spoken Northerner I'd been waiting to hear live for years, and he definitely did not disappoint. In fact, he was everything I hoped he would be, and then some. I first heard Scott Matthews' first album Passing Stranger when I was working in a dingy Irish pub in Brussels back in 2009 (I feel ancient when I say that!) I was immediately besotted with his soft, touching lilt and refreshingly honest lyrics in songs such as "Elusive", "City Headache" and "Eyes Wider Than Before".
His current UK tour is promoting his newest album, Home Part 1, which is a far cry from Passing Stranger's bluesy twang. These new songs are evocative, laden with memories, and designed to stay in your head and heart for days to come - especially "Virginia". Accompanied by a ridiculously talented cellist, his new songs have taken on an even more nostalgic character, which is reminiscent of compositions by Damien Rice and Lisa Hannigan.
After the gig, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet him and thank him for creating such beautiful music. I may have also mumbled something cheesy about him being the soundtrack to my life... not my proudest moment, but he quickly came to my rescue by saying that his aim has always been to try to convey the emotions he felt when writing the song to his listeners. What a guy.