gig review gig review gig review

Just a Short Note...the Best of Matt Finish
CD Launch 12th December 2001@ the Iguana Bar, Pott's Point
Let me say now, I'm a pretty biased fan (surprise). By the same token, I never got to see the original line-up, by dint of the fact that I was a wee bit too young. Cat's out of the bag now... : ) So how do I make a comparison?

What do I call this band? Matt Finish or Fire Hand Ember - I'm confused, but I don't mind. The current line up is Matt on vox and guitar, Rick on bass (and even a little spot of backing vox, my!), Joseph Calderazzo on guitar and backing vox, and Wayne Gretch on drums. If you've been to an acoustic gig in Sydney over the past couple of years and not seen Joseph, I'd be amazed...such an awesome guitarist and all-round lovely guy. Great acoustic sound but I can tell you that he rocks out on electric too (did anyone catch that Bar Broadway gig earlier this year?). Wayne is the guy I confess I know the least, but he has a great sound on the skins - and he's always smiling...altogether, they're a tight combo.

So who's been to the
'Guana before? A small, but not cramped, room with an intimate vibe. We've seen the guys here quite a few times now, and the only problem is talkers at the bar - yeah, a perennial problem, and tonight was no different. Considering most people were present by invitation, it's amazing when they proceed to yack away during the set...If you were one of the guys who told 'em to shut up on several occasions, I was one of the ones who applauded you...

Orright, the music - excellent (surprise, again). First song up,
Layman's Day, always a fave - sounded like one guitar was slightly off at first but it was righted before long. Matt managed to get in a little dig at John Howard - 'sorry I just had to slip that in' - and impro'ed some lyrics as he tends to in Layman's. Nice laid back solo biz in there from Joseph. Mancini Shuffle next  - I actually like Mancini more than Layman's, always love that snaky jazz drum in the background on the recorded version. It's a perfectly restrained song, don't you think? Quite elegant in a way. At any rate it works really well acoustically, has a good, spare (but not empty) sound.

I was wondering if they'd leave
Short Note till last, or as an encore as they have quite often, such a tease -  but tonight it was up third. Always a great song live, again, suits the acoustic format perfectly, got about as much attention from the audience as was possible. Now don't get me wrong, it wasn't as if we couldn't hear the guys at all, but you know, I'd like to think that the people who turn up to a CD launch might actually be fans (I know some of you were out there, and good on ya) or, at the least, appreciative. It's like drunken bores at a wedding...you're not the centre of attention, so SHUT UP...Anyway, we even got a bit of a sing along for the last chorus, which was cool. And yes, Matt can still hit that top note at the end...

But enough of that, cos up next was my current personal fav - a newie, no less - Surf's Up. If you've heard it I'll bet you're agreeing with me when I say...WHAT a corker of a song...Catchy riff, catchy and easy chorus, and a fabulous slide-guitar-bluegrassy-rootsy-rockin' (someone help me please) sound from Joseph the GuitarMeister. I'm sold - when the hell are they going to get this onto a CD and get it out???

It's hard to follow a song like that, I reckon...I confess that I think following up with
Augustine lost a small amount of momentum, but then, I have never been overly fond of dear Augustine. I actually thought it was minimally better reworked as In My Dreams on the By Heart CD, although that may be because I heard that version first. Don't get me wrong, it's not a baddie and certainly wasn't badly executed, just not a personal fave, and who's writing the review? So we'll move on to I Could Tell You I Cried, another By Heart era song, and one of the better to be sure. Works pretty well acoustically...hummm, I've said that a few times now. Well, it's true.

Last song of the set - a short set, unfortunately - was another new one, Tom Waits, and I quite like this too. Laid back, bluesy, jazzy, some nice slidey sounds from Joseph, some nice harmonies from Matt and Joseph, some rather single entendre lyrics to put a smirk on yer dial (you'll have to hear it for yourself, I think it's amusing). Band exeunt, stage sort-of-left-but-mostly-front, really. Like I said, it's a small room.

General applause and sounds of mass adoration follow...etc... ; )

So Matt got back up to do a solo for
Come On Over...another of my personal favs, has that nice Short Note chiming guitar sound that works so well. I'm always happy to hear this song, so it was a nice way to finish the evening...more applause...

...but who's this Tanned and Buff Vision in the Black Singlet? Hmmm, that'd be a certain Rob Hirst, that would, and up he popped to have a jolly ole jam on an extended reprise of Surf's Up. Now THAT was a nice way to finish the evening!

And did the guys look happy and relaxed during the gig? They did. Did Matt sing well? Best in ages. Was Rick ever the MightyBassMeister that he is - you betcha - and you gotta love those red jeans (well, I do, tasty). Was there much smiling and good vibes? Sure was. Was the whole thing videoed? SURE WAS! So when you buy the CD, hassle the
official site to release a video, or maybe they'll do a DVD, everyone seems to be making DVD's these days, all the rage sweeties...


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