. : : September 24th, 2013 : : .
I have to say, I’ve been very lucky.
I win more than my fair share of contests — and when I don’t, I have a lot of friends who do. The luck, at least as far as concerts go, has been especially hot recently, which is a shame with my recording gear in such ill repair.
A recent example of my luck was when a new start-up radio station in Toronto, Indie 88, hosted a listening party for Matthew Good‘s latest album, Arrows of Desire, which consisted of a 45-minute interview, sneak preview of the album, and a live 3-song performance to a room of less than 75 fans and friends, and I was invited to be a +1 for my friend’s contest winning spot.
I’ve been vocal time and time again about having lost interest in Good’s recent output but I was fanatic in the early turn of the century, seeing the band perform several times per tour — often multiple times in a week. Regardless, I cannot deny that the man always seems to put on a great live performance, even if it’s lacking the youthful spark of energy he still had a decade ago. So, yeah, I was happy to be a +1, especially in a room barely larger than my living room, with fewer people in it than on the public bus that brought me there.
The initial listen of the album was promising. It had a spontaneous, live-off the floor feeling that’s been lacking since his White Light Rock and Roll Revue album a decade ago. The interview wasn’t so insightful as it was a voyeuristic look into a laid back conversation between friends (interviewer Alan Cross and Good are friends in and outside of radio station studios).
The live performance, however? Well, Good classified the first song as “horrible” and declined to comment on the latter two — but as a fan? It was about all you can ask for: A stripped-down acoustic performance of a stand-out track on the new album? A throw-back to one of the best songs of his recent output? As a finale, a favourite single culled from his most popular album with his long-since dissolved band, the Matthew Good Band? Yeah, ok. It was pretty great.
It’s hard to be fully satisfied with a quick, 15-minute three-song performance, but if it was meant to wet my appetite for more Matthew Good… well, consider the mission accomplished.
The recording itself, however, is less-than-stellar. Although far from unlistenable, it’s marred by much too many flaws to be considered essential. Because my mics (or is it my mic-input?) are still acting up (thus the aforementioned ill repair), I had to use the on-board mics (which wouldn’t be so bad if it wasn’t such a small room that’s already being professionally recorded for radio broadcast / internet streaming). I had to be extra stealthy and hide the recorder in a makeshift pile of outerwear on my lap — and at points, my coat rubs up against the mics. The room was small, so it wasn’t amplified much and the applause was exceptionally louder than the music. Even a great deal of compression couldn’t stop the clapping and cheering from clipping in the final mix of the performance.
The songs themselves, though, are still more than listenable (see the sample below, if you don’t believe me!), and will be of particular interest to the uber-fans, of whom I used to count myself among. I still got your back, friends!
A live video stream of the performance can be found easily by Googling, if you’re interested in the interview and a much more professional copy of the live performance.
02. Guns of Carolina
04. Born Losers
06. Strange Days