Matt the Electrician/ Galynne & Markondrums; August 21, 2011; High Noon Saloon
Matt the Electrician (yes, he really did used to be an electrician) is kind of a sissy. He writes deeply sentimental songs about his wife and children, and talks about them frequently and lovingly during his set. Additionally, he plays the un-manliest instrument ever, the banjele, a banjo-ukulele hybrid of course which I was hoping was actually called a manjo. He whistles, a lot. But somehow, instead of all this adding up to a nauseating folk singer stereotype, think the guy who gets the guitar bashed over his head in Animal House, he’s a smart, charming, and most importantly, very entertaining musician.
He hasn’t drawn the best nights to play Madison. He visited the House of Righteous Music on a Sunday and barely a dozen people showed up. He’s only been here once since then, opening for the Weepies for what seemed a ridiculously over-priced show. Someone must have paid the $20 and a lot of them must have remembered the name Matt the Electrician because there was a very respectable crowd for a Monday night. This time around he was traveling with Scrappy Jud Newcomb, who played guitar and did backing vocals. Newcomb is a fellow Austinite singer songwriter and part of the Resentments, a sort of “supergroup” of Texas musicians. I’d expected he would play some of his own tunes, but he took his sideman duties seriously.
I recognized many of the songs, either from the CDs I had or from seeing him as Jon Dee Graham’s “friend” at the Continental Gallery last March. My favorite of these is “Animal Boy” written for his young son who apparently is never satisfied, “You are an animal boy, you’re hungry all of the time, you are an animal boy, you think it’s always dinner time.” At the house he did a terrific cover of Rick Springfield’s classic “Jessie’s Girl,” complete with an extensive and hilarious intro, tonight they sprung the Police’s “Bring on the Night” with no warning at all. It was awesome. I wish Matt made it to Madison a little more often, it is always good to see him.
Matt the Electrician