Review: Matt Corby, The Oxford Arts Factory, Sydney

Matt Corby
Image Courtesy of The AU Review

Matt Corby supported by Jack Carty and Tiger Town
24th November 2011, The Oxford Art Factory

The fact that over the past week I have woken up in the morning twice to Matt Corby’s new single “Brother” on the radio is testament to just how quickly his star is rising. That he managed to sell out the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney – his biggest headline gig in the city to date – and a couple of gigs in Melbourne as well further point to the swelling of his fan base, and well deserved it is. I made sure I got to the OAF gig nice and early to secure a vantage point and catch every nuianced moment of Corby’s performance.

First on stage was the irrepressible Jack Carty, a singer we’ve been singing the praises of for some time here on Timber and Steel. With only twenty minutes to work with and a surprisingly attentive and full early audience (Matt Corby’s fanbase is loyal enough to get there when the doors open and love music so much they’ll give the supports the same attention they’d give their idol) Carty road tested a number of the new songs he’s been writing for a planned second album. Only one song from his debut made the cut, “Hope” (below), but it was really nice to see some fresh music from the Sydney singer songwriter. The audience lapped it up as well whooping and cheering after each song and swarming the merch desk for CDs following the set.

I first saw Tigertown support Charlie Mayfair at the Vanguard in September and they absolutely captured my attention then. When I saw they’d been added as support for Matt Corby (something I only discovered when I walked into the OAF) I was over the moon. These guys put on an amazing show, full of an energy that is so infectious you can literally see it ripple over the audience. Tearing through their repertoire including “What Makes it Harder” and triple j favourite “Go Now”, Tigertown played their support slot like it was a headline spot – a blistering performance.

I think Timber and Steel can be (correctly) accused of not having the faith that Matt Corby’s beautiful, intimate music could translate to large venues. The best shows of his we’ve seen over the years have been in tiny clubs with capacities no bigger than 150 so the Oxford Art Factory presented a challenge, especially considering the annoying sound-bleed it has from the small bar next to the main venue. We needn’t have worried.

With a full band in tow including Bree Tranter (The Middle East) on keys and backing vocals Matt Corby walked on stage to a thunderous applause, smiling from ear to ear. It’s lovely to see an artist so at ease with his audience (I spied Corby taking in both support sets from various places within the crowd) and it translates into a really warm performance, and the sharing of cob dip with all (you had to be there).

Matt Corby’s solo performances with his trusty loop pedal are amazing to behold but playing with a full band just raises his music to another level. The version of “My False” Corby and his band unleashed on the crowd had so much energy it could have had an entire festival audience up and dancing. The big single, “Brother”, was the same. Matt Corby may be known for his sombre songs but with a band he was in full party mode.

That’s not to say Matt Corby’s performance didn’t have its quiet, “pin drop” moments. Despite its size the OAF fell quiet a number of times throughout the evening as Corby’s music washed out over the crowd. “Made of Stone” (above) was absolutely magic. Matt Corby and Bree Tranter’s duet on “Big Eyes” captured the beauty of the track perfectly. Despite the fact I was right up the back of the room, wedged behind a punter that had eaten too many onions for dinner, when Corby played his slower songs I felt like I was the only one there.

After witnessing Matt Corby sell out and then absolutely owning the Oxford Art Factory I am converted. I want to see him with his band gracing the Enmore, the Horden, even the main stage at Splendour or the Big Day Out. Matt Corby has proven himself on the big stage and it’s only up from here.

Matt Corby has announced a forth and final EP launch show in Melbourne with the full dates below. Check out our interview with Matt Corby here.

Wed 30th November – The Toff In Town, Melbourne – SOLD OUT
Thurs 1st December – The Toff In Town, Melbourne
Thurs 15th December – The Toff In Town, Melbourne
Tues 20th December – Toff In Town, Melbourne


  1. Pauline said,

    November 29, 2011 at 22:34

    From a very devoted fan this music to my ears. Onward’s and upwards Matty

  2. jayne said,

    November 29, 2011 at 23:59

    NO ! Please don’t let the rest of the world now about our secret….
    We don’t want to chance loosing him to the main stream machine pumping out carbon copy cutouts.

    Though being so connected and passionate about his craft, I doubt he will be temped to the dark side. We are very protective of him.

  3. November 30, 2011 at 10:39

    […] at the Oxford Art Factory was by all accounts a resounding success. And by all accounts we mean our review of the show of course. And now it’s time for the rest of Australia to get a chance to experience […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: