MATT ANDERSEN at Healey's, May 17. Attendance: 60. Tickets: free. Rating: NNN Rating: NNN
I'm not used to going to shows and being surrounded by guys in dress pants with briefcases in hand. Or are they attachés? While some of those attending Monday night's Matt Andersen show at Healey's wore golf shirts tucked into their walking shorts, I still couldn't shake the feeling that I was underdressed. I guess I should have known better, since it was a showcase for a guy who's getting major industry buzz. When Andersen takes the stage, sits down and begins to play his guitar, the first thing that strikes you is that a full-sized acoustic against his body looks more like a ukulele than a Martin. However, what rings out are sounds Don Ho never even dreamed of.
Rocking back and forth, his head bobbing so recklessly that paramedics were standing by, Andersen played fast enough to make Steve Vai seem mellow by comparison. Fortunately, the East Coaster has learned the art of restraint, breaking down the songs nicely and building them back up to a controlled frenzy. And that really was what his set was about: control. Despite all the gesticulation, you could sense a nervousness that prevented him from getting to the next level.
Andersen's blend of blues and rock is nothing new, but his talent on the six-string is really something special. Covers like Red House and Marley staples Stir It Up and No Woman No Cry got the crowd singing along, but it was Matt's own One Size Never Fits that got the best response.
A line like "I'm gonna love you by the pound" sung by a 350-pound smiling bear of a guy without an ounce of shame is not just heartwarming. By calling attention to his size, he's made it a non-issue.
Of course, all he had to do to make that happen was play his guitar.