As I strolled into Electric Brixton, the venue for tonight’s gig, I wondered whether Matt Corby’s live sound would mirror that of his recorded music. Could such boldness be acoustically achieved in such a large space?
The stylish 25-year-old took to the stage, clicking his fingers and whispering a soft sound, as he began layering vocals to ‘Monday.' Minimal instrumentals created the intimacy of acapella whilst through the use of looping, a wide sounding backing track was achieved.
The echo that bounced from the song ‘Runaway’ gave me chills; hauntingly atmospheric. Each strum of his guitar shimmered with thick reverb and delay leaving its sound lingering in the air. “Cause she don't give a shit about you. She will let you run away, so just run away,” Corby’s brutally honest lyrics stayed with me long after the show itself.
‘Resolution’ was magical. Corby’s fingers picked guitar strings lightly as he spoke an effortlessly emotional lullaby, the drumbeat pulsing throughout his words. ‘Almost Cut My Hair’ pulsed with hard funk, as a skilfully slick bluesy solo cast my mind to the likes of Jimi Hendrix and Jeff Buckley; a complimentary comparison to say the least.
‘Song For…’ was undoubtedly a highlight, its interlude taking my breath away. “So much blood on my hands,” Corby sang, as the crowd hung on lyrics that I longed to hear again and again. The peak of his vocal solo demanded silence, as the crowd became frozen by the beauty of his voice. The sheer volume and sonic capability of Corby is astounding; I paused from photographing the artist long enough to soak in the presence of his voice.
‘Lay You Down’ one of the last songs performed, slowed the tempo, further highlighting the variety in pace, rhythm and style installed in his set. Corby played the flute skilfully, but the effortless range, pitch and depth of his voice were his true instrument. An unexpected cover of ‘Change is Gonna Come’ by Sam Cooke brought Corby’s incredible set to a close.
It was an unforgettable gig that reached right for the soul. From his humble beginnings performing gospel music in church, Corby’s music has been honed into a unique blend – think the crackling soul of Paolo Nutini, mixed with the pain and longevity of Caleb Followill and the acoustic rhythm of Ben Howard. Musical references may be made but the talent installed in Matt Corby’s vocals are like none you’ve ever heart!
Words and photography: Luke Cole