Live Review: Matt Corby

Words - Lewis Fisher

Photography - Torika Taylor

On Saturday night I escorted one Matt-Corby lookalike to one Matt Corby show at the iconic Palais Theatre in St. Kilda. I really can’t stress enough the absurd resemblance these two have. From the long scruffy brown hair down to the equally ragged full beard. My doppelganger friend even sings in a band, and (don’t blush, Ben) sounds remarkably like Corby.

The night began with disappointment; my lookalike did not receive his warranted fanfare despite my best bellringing. C’mon people – “make way for Matt Corby” gets no response!?

Matt Corby’s debut album Telluric, though, is anything but disappointing.

We were just in time to catch up-and-coming Vera Blue’s opening act wrap up. She was the perfect introduction to the vocal highroads we were about to ascend. Vera Blue had support from a minimalist accompaniment; a piano and a guitar were enough as she mused spellbinding vocals within her sweltering electronica. Her sound, a self-proclaimed mix of innocent folk vocals with the heavy hitting punch of base burns true. An exciting Aussie to keep an eye on, no doubt.

Matt Corby enters, clad head to toe in black, his hands clasped, and begins with 'Belly Side Up'. The mood is sultry and passionate; its typical of Corby. But this album doesn’t stay on the expected line.

Telluric is a fine wine. Its complex and nuanced; moodily brewing at first taste, only to jump playfully on the palate with its jazzy funk undertones. It uplifts the beholder and reassures them that after a first sip, reverie’s pleasant kiss awaits you. In that way, its very hard to stop drinking… listening? Both?

After five EP’s the track list of Telluric is a great exploration of its narrator’s talents manifested through sorrow and joy.

Masterpiece, 'Monday', is an ode to beat boxing that transcends its normative limits. The song is entirely constructed by sounds from Matt’s voice or body but it diverges from the rhythmic base that’s expected into enchantingly calming realms.

Just as the audience relaxes, 'Knife’s Edge' kicks in, a gospel funk induced breakup song that inspired uncontrollable vigorous jazz hands from supporting bass guitarist, and yours truly.  As the song kicks off, seemingly crushing the moody angst are ultra-violet rolling banners vertically descending onto the stage. They’re littered with plants and roots that change colour symphonically with the feel of each song.

The songs are wispy and evoking; soulful percussion oozes into groovy melodies. The visuals are intoxicating; matching the natural themed tie-die like album cover. Yet something is lacking in his performance.

Maybe it’s the grandeur of the Palais; the sheer size of the stage and seating that demands compelling theatrics, some dynamism, action, movement or expression outside of Corby’s vocal chords working over time. But nothing like that was on display.

Corby could have been a statue with a recording out there if not for his intermittent instrument work; feet always planted, hands clasped in front of him.

Corby’s vocals are what I hope an angel would sound like, and because of that the performance keeps you engaged. He even revisits old favourites such as 'Trick of the Light' and boasts what must be new found skills of licking the flute. A great jazzy touch that works well with the vibrancy of Telluric.

If only the eclectic expressiveness in his song-writing carried over into his performance on stage. 

Matt Corby's debut album, Telluric, is out now

Lewis Fisher is the kind of guy that’s better friends with your mum than you. And this time, its personal. Between digressing into playful quodlibets and a yearning ambition to integrate cheese onto every meal, you’ll find him in a dressing gown and slippers multi-screening away. Among all this Lewis finds time to pen down his inner monologue and provide an integral source of editing others at Lucifer's Monocle.