Matt Costa Live at Brighton


Surf-rock swinging The Blank Tapes opened the show for Matt Costa at the Brighton Music Hall. “Would it be alright if we had a beach party?” percussionist Pearl Charles asked the audience before the band’s lead guitarist and singer Matt Adams and bassist DA Humphrey embarked on their set. With vintage charm and a wonderfully overwhelming danceability, the certainly set the mood for the concert.

After a brief intermission, mister Matt Costa and his too-small suit entered, playing keyboard for his all-time bestselling single ‘Mr Pitiful’ from his 2008 album, Unfamiliar Faces. He appeased the audience in this way, playing favorite songs from each of his five albums throughout the show.

The artist made immediate transitions between his songs, despite a wholly cheering audience. During the first half of his show, he seemed to be focused merely on making music. Despite a wholly cheering audience, the artist made immediate transitions between songs in the first half of his show. He didn’t even seem to hear the audience’s professions of love to him – or to his sweater vest patterned with tiny yellow Woodstock birds. However, just before ‘Clipped Wings,’ he stepped out of his shell and admitted, “So you do have a very lovely town here.” Costa went on to discuss some of his first, finest memories in Boston before playing the song.

Costa and his four-fellow band gathered center stage to sing fan favorite ‘Miss Magnolia’. Unplugged and banjo strumming, the band transformed the concert hall into a backyard barbecue as the crowd sung every lyric and clapped and foot-tapped their way into a human percussion. As the second verse rolled in, Costa jumped off-stage and meandered through the crowd, smiling and singing all the while.

He climbed back on-stage to play ‘Sunshine,’ a song which took on its own life of tambourine and shaker intimacy. At one point, he laughed and said “I’m gonna stop for a second to say how excited I am that you all are here.” Everything about him was entirely charming. Throughout the show, he smiled ever-genuinely as the crowd joined him singing each familiar chorus.

Although you can certainly listen with ease, there is nothing about Costa’s compositions that is necessarily ‘easy’. In an interview, Costa discussed musical motivations for his 2013 record, Matt Costa. He says, “With this album, part of what I wanted to do was work with these big, over-the-top arrangements that burst open and take off into a whole new dimension – but still ultimately create that same kind of cool, pure feeling.”

Combining Bob Dylan reminiscent harmonica verses with call and response slide guitar and bounding bass lines.. he certainly achieves this. And to overlay it all – the audience sings every word.

When Costa and his band exited the stage not a single fan budged. The audience waited patiently as the musicians teased them, waving a little from a window backstage. As Costa made his way back to the mic, ‘Cold December’ was immediately asked for and received. Despite resurgence of the rarer 2006 ‘Acting Like A Fool,’ this song was the encore’s finest moment. Costa played the track quiet and alone, appealing unconditionally to the sea of Bostonians in front of him just beginning to break into Spring.

By Maggie Ambrose
Photo by Chris Paredes

If you liked this, check out:
Muse Live at TD Garden
SKATERS Live at Brighton

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