Scott Matthew makes The Garage go acoustic
It is always a pleasure to seep through the long queue of teenagers heading to The Garage’s main room and sneak in through a side door to ‘The Upstairs’: an intimate, red-lit, drink-friendly little room, set up and ready for independent artist Scott Matthew to get on stage, 6thJune 2012.
The Australian vocalist and lyricist kicked the night off with a heart-warming In the End, which he played alone on his guitar. This is one of the main songs from the soundtrack of Shortbus, John Cameron Mitchell’s movie about sexual freedom in contemporary New York City.
Scott swung between guitar and ukulele, giving an amazing acoustic performance of old and new songs, including Little Bird and Community. His dense, sultry and deeply haunting voice reverberated – to his surprise too, he admitted – across the low-ceilinged room. Here people sat all over the floor, from the very edge of the stage to the bar at the back.
The simplicity of the music and its contrast with the intense, passionate themes of the lyrics added to the evening’s warmth and delight. Through his music, Scott explores sexuality, love, loss, and social issues – among others.
Towards the end, Scott played a sweet No Surprises (Radiohead) on his little four-stringed instrument, followed by a peculiar, hilarious cover of Whitney Houston’s I Wanna Dance with Somebody. It didn’t take very long for Scott to win the audience over; not only did he give fantastic live performance, but, with his chat and little anecdotes, he also proved to be a very entertaining man. “Am I tuned?” he asked his sidekick, at whose nod he added: “Sorry, I’m not a real musician.”
Despite being rather well-known for his contribution to the soundtrack of anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex and Shortbus, Scott remains far from the mainstream’s spotlight.
Sometimes it is a blessing rather than a curse to still have artists that do not hit it off with the large music masses, because this means – no, not that you simply bypass the main queue at The Garage – but that they play and sing at a minimal distance, that you see the sweat on their forehead and the smear of wine on their glass rim, and, if you are patient enough, have a drink and a smoke with them.