Matt Mays, The Meds 
The Pyramid Cabaret, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
14 October 2012

Live review

Do you like Tom Petty? Then The Meds and Matt Mays are your people, let me tell you. This is good ol’ flannel-core rock. I was sporting mine, as I always do but I got too hot, so I had to remove my plaid flannel over shirt. Damn.

Openers, The Meds, are a band from Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, on the east coast of Canada. They play some damn fine stuff, very much in the vein of Matt Mays. In fact, their new album was produced by Matt Mays. And, for the show, Pat MacDonald from The Meds was the guitar tech for Matt Mays and his band. Oh the webs that are weaved.

I enjoyed them a whole lot I have to say. They did a great job, had well written songs, were tight as a band (which they should be given the band began in 2006) and had an impressive rock and roll and americana/canadiana sound.

Lead vocalist Kyle Drake has a nice voice with good range. This is a good band, man, and I’m thinking of investing in their EP which is out now on iTunes. I hope they get some much deserved attention as the result of this tour.

Okay, so the Meds go off. Then, before Matt Mays hit the stage – as the kids say – some local morning radio DJ from some god awful station got up to introduce them. What a meathead. He was only up for two minutes and I wanted to throw a bottle at him. (NOTE: I do not condone the throwing of any objects at anyone, including morning show idiots). Sorry, rant over. Ah, commercial radio, how I loathe you.

From then on, however, things were all fine. This was just a fun, fun show to be at.

The crowd was delightful. The atmosphere was happy and jovial, with a polite rowdiness. It was just a great space and place to be with some great music being made.

And, man oh man, let me tell you, the girls LOVE this guy. I looked around at one point and found myself in a sea of thirty-something ladies all swooning over Matt Mays, hanging on every word he would say and sing.

I was standing near the guitarist on stage left who looked exactly like Bruce McCulloch from Kids in the Hall. Dead ringer! I kept hoping he would randomly break into “These Are the Dave’s I Know”. It never happened. But, the crowd was right into it what was going on with plenty of sing along action, plenty of head knodding, spot dancing and a few jump up and downers, and of course plenty of swooning! These guys had every one captivated!

Well, I shouldn’t speak for everyone, but, come on, I don’t see how anyone could not have walked away from this show feeling anything but damn happy to have experienced it!

Flashing lights, guitar feedback, fog machines, every brand of electric guitar and amp available, a stage front jammed with effects pedals and Matt Mays jumping off wandering through the crowd: This was proper rock AND roll…dude. Sorry, but I couldn’t find a bootleg video of the Winnipeg show. Hope this substitute will do:

I don’t know how familiar the UK is with Matt Mays, but, again, I will bring up the Tom Petty comparison.

Really, this is music that fits well in the world of Tom Petty, John Mellancamp, Bruce Springsteen, Dan Baird, Steve Earle and other singer-songwriter, roots rock americana style bands that know how to let go and rock hard.

Oh wait, cannot forget Neil Young in here. Mind you, there aren’t many Canadian artists out there who aren’t influenced by him in some way.

Key artist here though is most definitely Tom Petty. At times, it’s all Tom Petty. Well, no it’s all Matt Mays who reminds me a whole lot of Tom Petty, which is good. Very good indeed. It’s just good, straight up music. Well written and well executed. Love the new single, “Take it on Faith” as well:

Ah, a fun night had by all – or at least, by me. Presumably I was not alone in this fun having.

This was the first time I have seen the guy and, just moving back to Canada, I am doing a bit of catch up on what is happening on the Canadian music “scene”. This was a good, solid, Can-con rawk and roll show and in the end, the steep ticket price (30 bucks!) proved to be absolutely worth it! Long live flannel!

All words and images by Chris Hearn. You can read more from Chris on LTW here.

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