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Monday, December 2, 2013

Live review: Matrimony, Chop Shop (11/30/2013)

Posted By on Mon, Dec 2, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Matrimony
Chop Shop
Nov. 30, 2013


When you've been out on the road for dozens of shows, there's always a renewing energy when you get back in front of a hometown crowd. Charlotte indie-folk quintet Matrimony felt plenty of love at the Chop Shop on Nov. 30, 2013, performing a lengthy set that touched on a wide range of the band's catalog.

A few technical difficulties throughout the night did little to hamper the band or crowd's energy. Matrimony played plenty of material from its upcoming Columbia Records debut, Montibello Drive, starting with "To the Road" and "Southern Skies."

Matrimony w/ Leonard Jones
  • Matrimony w/ Leonard Jones

The band's acoustic-driven sound has developed over the years, most of it drawing from the comfort a group can only get after performing more than 100 shows together this year. Moments when a band member drops to their knees to perform or stand on the drum riser never feel forced from a band who always looks at home on the stage. Jams, while still loose and free-flowing, have gotten tighter within the collective. Each member has learned a bit more about when to explore new ground or when to rein it in and drive forward.

The perfect example of this came during "Like a Ghost," featuring long-time friend Leonard Jones on guitar. Jones let his electric notes ring out, paying compliment to both music and lyrics of the song. The band gave him room to breathe, but also pulled it back together before anyone wandered off.

Matrimony is one of those rare acts with members able to switch up instruments between songs with ease, and without losing the character of its sound. Too often, a switch from mandolin to guitar or even drums to guitar, causes a delay and possible miscues, but this multi-instrumental act never misses a beat. Even when drummer Jordan Hardee took a moment to propose to his girlfriend, he was able to jump back behind the kit and go on like nothing life-changing had just happened.

The band dug into the archives to perform the catchy crowd-favorite "Flee or Fight," as Ashlee Hardee Brown danced around the stage. Crowd participation was put to the test for a video shoot of the band's newest song, "See the Light," as the chorus was repeated a few times to make sure everyone had it right - Ashlee also couldn't get over the crowd chorus singing to her, which she wanted to hear again and again.

While some people told me the sound was going in and out on some vocals and the mix was "off," I had little trouble hearing from the front of the room. Even during the fourth and final song of the encore, as the band played "Giant," they soldiered on when the lights went out, singing in the glow of a dozen or more cell phone flashlights.

Regardless of the band's album release being pushed to early next year or not, Matrimony's greatest talents are always showcased live. Was this the best Matrimony show I've seen? No. It had a raw quality to it, but that's one of the things I enjoyed most. This was a quintet performing in front of a hometown crowd doing its best to entertain and showcase its material. It didn't need to sound perfect or be the "best show ever." The concert needed to fit the moment, celebrate the band's many miles on the road and return home, provide a backdrop to a marriage proposal and just let everyone involved have a damn good time. Mission accomplished.

Matrimony
  • Matrimony

Setlist
To the Road
Southern Skies
I Believe in Love
Sorrow
Shut Me Out
Down to the River
Like a Ghost
Flee or Fight
Last Love
See the Light
Obey Your Guns

Encore
Mecklenburg Jail
How Do You See Me
Golden City
Giant

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