Live Review: Matt Corby, BLESSED, Eliott

8 April 2019 | 1:03 pm | Jess Martyn

"He has emerged as a true storyteller, and watching him at work is nothing short of joyful."

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Like a young protégé of Matt Corby, Eliott is the perfect starter to his main course. Her voice merges strength and delicacy, reflecting the likes of Adele and Alessia Cara, and she’s more than competent on the keys. She creates sparse soundtracks in Figure It Out to highlight her vibrato, building on this solid base with a collection of anthemic originals, before finishing off with a series of show-stopping belts in Shaking My Hips. 

Sydneysider BLESSED has a tough act to follow, but he doesn’t waste any time before launching into Love Letters, a patchwork of ominous and anthemic guitar melodies. His bold vocals bring to mind the likes of Kid Cudi and Chance The Rapper – and yet his drummer can’t help but steal the show with an explosion of colourful rhythms. The set bounces between brooding numbers like My World and upbeat tunes like Everything Groovy, but it’s Sorrows that makes the set.

When the time comes for him to to take the stage, Matt Corby does so in his own quiet manner, surrounded by bandmates and seemingly immune to the screams of the crowd. 

Light My Dart Up provides the first taste of complex vocal harmonies, with a blend of so many elements that getting lost seems inevitable. By the second track, No Ordinary Life, it becomes clear that Corby’s confidence has grown immeasurably. He moves more freely, stands a little bit taller, and lands each note with precision. He seems unfazed by the transitions from front of stage to the piano, and then to the guitar, and his easy delivery puts the crowd at ease. His flute solo in Empires Attraction is just the cherry on top of the instrumental prowess on display. 

Choosing a highlight is almost impossible. Corby’s control and mastery over his dynamics comes to the fore, from the subdued beginning of All Fired Up to the boldest belt in Miracle Love, and the gospel quality of the band’s layered vocals is a mainstay of the night. Crowd favourites Brother and Resolution are strong contenders, but it’s a brief reprise of Neil Young’s classic Old Man that elicits perfect silence before raucous applause. 

The true highlight is the boldness of Corby’s performance – after more than a decade on the stage, he no longer shies away from the audience, nor from himself. Like many a great musician, he has emerged as a true storyteller, and watching him at work is nothing short of joyful.

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