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Live Review: Matthew E White

18 January 2016 | 4:02 pm | Melissa Borg

"The crowd was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, but showed generosity and appreciation in their applause."

"It's gonna be a fun show, y'all," announced a jetlagged Matthew E White upon entering the Spiegeltent's stage, coaxing us into silence as he began with a slow-tempo ditty. The crowd was so quiet you could hear a pin drop, but showed generosity and appreciation in their applause.

White broke from song to share with us that around this time on his last visit, he and his band had fallen asleep, due to jetlag, in a Domino's downtown, so he endeavoured to not make this set too relaxing for both his and our sake, picking up the pace with the jazz-flavoured Vision.

It was a welcome change to his set as it saw White break from his husky croon, something that would have been nice to hear more often, as his bass-laden vocals could occasionally border on monotonous. A benefit of this was its ability to allow the focus to fall on the music, which displayed a unique melding of styles that traversed jazz, rock, country, soul and gospel, which the accomplished band carried effortlessly.

Guitarist Alan Parker, bassist Cameron Ralston and drummer Pinson Chanselle Jr, along with White on guitar and vocals, were a tight-knit band, and should be commended on their enviable synchronicity and exquisite musicianship. The setlist wove between 2012's Big Inner and 2015's Fresh Blood, playing songs Big Love, Fruit Trees and Steady Pace, with each showcasing the band's genuine enthusiasm and enjoyment of the performance.

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A mediocre singalong was employed during Feeling Good Is Good Enough — c'mon audience, you can do better than that. It was followed up with Rock & Roll Is Cold, which closed out the set, leaving the audience energised and thoroughly impressed by the band's charismatic performance.