The Matinee – The Imperial (Vancouver – March 1, 2014)
If you were in Vancouver at all in the summer of 2012, it was pretty hard to avoid Young & Lazy. The song was a breakout hit for local favourites The Matinee and seemed like the official anthem of a summer that saw the band featured prominently in the celebrations of Vancouver’s Stanley Park’s 125th birthday towards the end. The band’s been touring relentlessly which meant almost a six month break between Vancouver shows. That didn’t matter to fans though: the band’s show at the Imperial Vancouver drew a sold out crowd for a homecoming show.
With lead singer Matt Layzell and bell-bottom clad guitarist Matt Rose front and center on stage the band wasted no time kicking their set into high gear with a couple of songs that hadn’t been played in Vancouver before. That, as it turns out, didn’t matter to a crowd that was pretty absorbed by the band’s west coast rootsie indie rock sound. The mutual love was pretty apparent by the time they launched into L’Absinthe, one of the better known songs from the debut album.
With a nicely timed slower intro for the next song the band spent the next hour or so demonstrating that all of that relentless touring has taught them how to work with an audience well as On Our Own built to a crescendo with Layzell hitting a drum hard and bringing the energy back up nicely.
That stomping actually deserves a special mention because Rose does more than move around the stage he mashes around it with heavy footfalls that provide a rhythm as vital to The Matinee’s live sound as the drum kit does. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about him: I actually thought he might put a foot through the floor more than once. The band had a few bottles of beer on stage with them and I watched them gradually topple over one by one from the vibrations of the footfalls. Rose’s ability to do this and still play wicked guitar in perfect time is reminiscent of seeing Levon Helm hit his drums hard and still sing in tune, and it’s equally amazing to watch.
Despite that “song of the summer” status last year and the fact that a friend of mine was actually booking shows for the band for a while, this was the first time I’d seen The Matinee. If I’m honest, I probably figured all those rabid fans I’d talked to were overhyping the band a bit and I’d stopped going out of my way to try to see them after a while.