Matthew Good is one of my all time favourite artist. So when, a little more than 24 hours in advance, the Fox announced a surprise acoustic show at the Media Club, I knew I had to be there. There was no way I was going to miss Matt Good in a venue with a less-than-200 capacity, especially for an acoustic show. Even if it meant waiting an hour and a half in life in the rain, then another hour and a half inside for the show to start.
The show was a kind of kick-off for his upcoming tour, and was very intimate, loose, and on the fly, with Good joked about how often he'd screw up. And which there were a few flubs -- mostly because he hadn't played some of the songs acoustically in a few years, if not over a decade -- and while they would have been bothersome at a large venue show, this felt less like a "show" and more like Good invited us into his living room to play and chat.
And there was lots of chatting, as is usual for his acoustic shows. It was almost equal parts music and stand-up comedy as he went off on tangents on the necessity of drugs ("just watch Treehouse for a few hours"), what exactly emo is, the pronunciation of Bon Iver, how young you are based on the size of the music you bought ("...and if the music you bought was invisible, then you are young."), and even a self-aware moment where he wondered about the mood whiplash between the serious and/or depressing songs and the humourous rants between them.
And as for the songs; he played a great mix of old and new -- though not too much new album -- and aside from "Born Losers", which featured Chris Duncombe of The Washboard Union backing him up on banjo, the set was entirely Matt. He hit a lot of songs that have become my favourites over the years -- not just of his, but of all time -- like the heartbreaking "The Fine Art of Falling Apart"; "Prime Time Deliverance", which always gives me chills; and "Running For Home", a song I never though I would get to hear live, that ended with the entire crowd singing the ending.
As he tends to be, Good was pretty candid about which songs he could and couldn't play; some he can't remember and some, such as "Weapon", just don't quite work acoustically, even giving us a preview of how boring it may sound with just one guitar. But he wasn't afraid to rework songs, such as the symphonic "While We Were Hunting Rabbits" or the horn-heavy "Zero Orchestra"
After two hours, Good "ended" with a great version of "Avalanche", but was of course back out for the encore which included some amazing older songs. "Omissions of the Omen", the secret track off Last of the Ghetto Astronauts, which he hadn't played live since 1996 (and, fun fact, is apparently the first popular use of the phrase "first world problems") and another couple fan favourites and rarely played songs, "So Long Mrs Smith" and "Life Beyond the Minimum Safe Distance", wrapped up the set of a little over two and a half hours, and left the crowd spent.
My favourite artist. In a great, intimate venue. Playing some of my favourite songs. Forget show-of-the-year. This was a show-of-a-lifetime.
Champions of Nothing, Set Me On Fire, Little Terror, While We Were Hunting Rabbits, Strange Days, Prime Time Deliverance, Born Losers, 99% of Us is Failure, Suburbia, Alert Status Red, The Fine Art of Falling Apart, How It Goes, Apparitions, Avalanche.
(encore) Sort of a Protest Song, Zero Orchestra, Keep The Customer Satisfied [Simon & Garfunkel cover], Running For Home, Omissions of the Omen, So Long Mrs Smith, Life Beyond the Minimum Safe Distance.