When I saw him support Vera Blue back in May, I said that “every song seemed to remind me of a different artist”. This time was no different – Matt Gresham does it all!
Before Matt Gresham graced the stage, we were gifted with the beautiful acoustic sounds of Heloise and Ariela Jacobs. The tone was set early as The Toff was set up with chairs and tables, perfect for an intimate show. A special shout out to Ariela Jacobs for finishing with an impromptu 80s medley, covering ‘When Doves Cry’, ‘I Wanna Dance With Somebody’, ‘Girls Just Want To Have Fun’, and ‘Time After Time’.
I think the thing I love most about Matt Gresham is that he can have a quiet, intimate show but still make it feel like a big performance. On Saturday night, he opened with a short a capella section of ‘Small Voices’ before kicking into his first song. Artistically placed lights behind him slowly lit up in blue and grew throughout the song before changing colours and patterns throughout the set. And of course, he and his extraordinary band mate, Luke Liang, provide the right amount of positive energy up on stage.
It was a show that almost felt like seeing all your favourite artists in one hit. ‘Home’ sounded like a cross between Boy & Bear and Of Monsters and Men. Then later came a song that sounded like Jack Johnson mixed with Justin Timberlake, topped off with a hip hop verse written by Brooklyn’s Talib Kweli. Despite such a wide range of genres, an introduction for a cover of Paul Simon’s ‘Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes’ showed off what Matt Gresham really excels at. The intricacy and technical skills shown in the guitar solo were simply breathtaking.
The venue was already providing plenty of intimacy but when Luke left the stage and let Matt go solo, things got that little bit deeper. “Isolation…” *pause* “…sure is fucking crazy” was just perfect (I’ll have to find out the name of that song!) and another song with Luke back on the stage had him open up even more. “This is the most honest song that I’ve ever created. It came from a time that I wasn’t so honest.” Of course, the highlight of that one actually came from a much more upbeat place as Matt Gresham and Luke Liang finished it with a jam, having so much fun and laughing audibly with each other.
Nearing the end of an awe-inspiring set, Matt played his newest single, ‘Ghost’. I love the song but it was Luke’s ability to play a melody on the keys with one hand while doing offbeat percussion with the other that impressed me. How?! The crowd were thanked for supporting independent music and the boys topped things off with my favourite, ‘Small Voices’. A great song to finish and I was extra impressed that Luke sings too! I guess it’s not just Matt that does it all. But wait! A surprise encored of his “mum’s favourite song” was the icing on the cake that most of the crowd didn’t even expect. Matt Gresham gives the people what they want.
Hometown: Rockingham, Western Australia
Latest Single: ‘Ghost’, released 20 May 2016
Sounds like: Boy & Bear, Of Monsters and Men, Jack Johnson
Say what? When Luke Liang briefly left the stage to let Matt go solo, he actually made his way into the crowd to experience the atmosphere and watch his mate perform.