Esoteric Antenna Showcase – Matt Stevens

Venue : The Borderline, London
Date : 7 June 2013

I was going to another showcase from Esoteric Antenna and as this one was on a Friday evening at The Borderline, I had taken the train down to London and walked over from Farringdon.  I had a recollection that people were meeting at the Crobar, so I headed towards where I thought it was, before finding out that was a different pub.  So I headed towards where it must be, and it was not there either.  And finally I discovered that it is practically next door to The Borderline.  I cannot believe that I had not been there before.  Anyway, I was able to chat with Bert and Ash before Wilf turned up with my ticket.  I appear to be the only one without an alias.

Here’s a man who needs no other name – Matt Stevens !  He’d be larger than life if he wasn’t so large in life.

Hey everybody, it's Matt !

Hey everybody, it’s Matt !

It is always a pleasure to be at one of his gigs, and fresh from his exploits at Celebr8.2, which you can read about here, he has signed to Esoteric Antenna.  That is brilliant news for all concerned and very well deserved by Matt.  Which explains why he is on this bill, of course.  He comes on to the stage with a big “Hello!  Are you all right?” and begins with a different spacey sound before kicking into a very familiar Rusty, which really gets the crowd going, and it is good to see that so many have turned up at the beginning to see Matt.  He carries straight on into another familiar track, Burning Bandstands, which pushes along until it quietens, then some big phasing grows before the sound fades to a sharp strum finish.

Just in case you do not know, Matt plays the acoustic guitar and employs the use of looping and magic (but no backing tapes) to create the most astounding sounds.

Acoustic guitar, magic and no backing tapes

Acoustic guitar, magic and no backing tapes

He starts off into Wooden Boxes, which bounces along upbeat as he tells us “this is a new song,” and it rolls along over hard deeper parts.  It has a summer driving feel until it pauses to develop in other ways then buzzes out and Matt adds effects from his pedalboard before echoing it to finish.  “It’s hot, eh,” to which Wilf responds, “Take your cardie off !”  I am sure it was Roger who then made the point that “All his powers are in his cardie.”  “These groupies,” says Matt, “It’s not a striptease,” (although the photographers all seem to love his poses)

Smile for the camera

Smile for the camera

and he continues with Scapegoat, another light airy number which swirls around a deeper theme, before he brings in a really interesting sound towards the end and drives that to finish it.  The final song is another familiar one, Big Sky, and Matt takes it and his set to a big close.

Another triumph

Another triumph

If you have not seen Matt live yet then you have missed out and need to rectify that mistake.

You can see more of my photos from Matt’s set here.

You can read my review of the Sanguine Hum set here.

You can read my review of the Tin Spirits set here.

You can read more about how I met Steven Wilson on the night here.

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