Matthew E. White – Fresh Blood (Album & Live LSO St Luke’s)

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Matthew Bear White is back.
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This is an unusual double review: my opinion on both mister White’s latest album Fresh Blood, and on his concert in London earlier this month which Twist & Sound was lucky enough to attend.

On the album: Matthew used the same ingredients that made us love Big Inner in 2012 – read our review (in French) here. His super low and calm voice is still there – nearly whispering at times, along with so many layers of various instruments, and that bass!
This is a very nice album to listen to, we might regret that we didn’t find one or two songs that really struck out as being above the rest, like “Big Love” or “Brazos” on his first LP, but this album is more consistent across its length as a result. Perhaps Fresh Blood is slightly less “laid back” than its predecessor and Matthew explored a bit more “pop” sounds (“Rock & Roll Is Cold”, “Fruit Trees”). However don’t get me wrong, you should still listen to Matthew’s voice in a dark room with red velvet cushions to put yourself in the right mood.

The atmosphere at LSO’s St Luke’s for Matthew’s London gig was as far from a red room with velvet cushions as it can be. For those who don’t know the venue, St Luke’s is an Anglican Church that was restored and converted into a concert hall. The building is simply magnificent and quite ceremonious – you can check it out here: lso.co.uk/lso-st-luke-s.

This was clearly a special night for Matthew E. White. First of all he decided to come alone on stage, with only a concert piano and an electric guitar to play on, with the idea in mind to play half of the concert on each one. Second of all, when after two songs Matthew switched from piano to guitar, the latter refused to work. Even a second amplifier and 15 minutes of hard work by his roadie wouldn’t make it work.

The outcome of the concert? Matthew played his songs on his grand piano, alone, in a church.

I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t imagine a Matthew E. White concert like this. I was more expecting “Barracuda” with trumpets and saxophones, crazy bass and velvet on stage.
Matthew still managed to convince by making us discover his songs “as he composed them originally”: all on the piano, and alone. The result was still very nice to hear even if it was not what I expected. He was very funny on stage and kept the audience in his pocket in a configuration that was clearly not easy. Matthew succeeded in covering up for the broken guitar, confessing on stage that he never played live some of the songs he intended to play on the guitar.

Happy to have witnessed Matthew in a very unique configuration, I still regret a bit not to have witnessed that Matthew E. “Barracuda” White playing “Big Love” live. Come back in London with your band next time Matthew, Twist & Sound will be there again!

  • Rock & Roll is Cold – Feeling Good is Good Enough – Golden Robes