Review: Matt Corby, The Corner Hotel, Melbourne

Matt Corby
Image Courtesy of Matt Corby

Matt Corby
19th February 2012, The Corner Hotel

This was Matt Corby‘s second chance to impress me.

A year and a half ago, in the upstairs of a pub in Islington, North London, I went along to watch Matt Corby perform a free gig. There were, at most, twenty people in the room (including Corby and a bartender) and I left in awe of Corby‘s vocals but feeling underwhelmed at his songs and lacklustre stage presence.

Fast forward to February 2012 and I’m on the other side of the world at the first of five sold out shows at a venue with a capacity of around 850.

It’d be fair to say 2011 was Corby‘s year. “Brother” was the song that was to be his big break and ultimately earn him the bronze medal equivalent in Triple J’s Hottest 100.

Tonight he casually strolls onto the stage; The theatrical red curtains open with smoke machines and lighting creating the kind of atmosphere one wouldn’t normally associate with an acoustic guitarist. As he begins with “Made of Stone”, I immediately fear this second chance was undeserved. Yet again, his vocals are faultless but there’s something missing.

It’s only when he bursts into his second song with the backing of the whole band that I realise how wrong I was.

By the time he plays his third song – a track he introduces as “a song that you might recognise” – I’m completely charmed. As he ramps up the tempo and the volume for the bridge of “Brother” it becomes clear that the more attitude Corby displays, the more enjoyable his performance is.

The set continues with a few solo performances and Corby‘s clever rendition of The Black Keys‘ “Lonely Boy” which the crowd reacts well to.

Alone with his loop pedal, Corby records his softer notes before layering on harsher vocals to create something pretty special. But I still think I prefer his performance when accompanied by his band – the addition of a drummer particularly enhanced the songs.

Finishing with an encore of “Kings, Queens, Beggars and Thieves” – a song I vaguely remember from my first encounter with Corby – the improvement is immeasurable.

The boy I saw back then appeared awkward, uncertain and lacking. Tonight I saw a confident man, oozing stage presence and clearly adored by the packed out crowd.


  1. Carmel said,

    February 20, 2012 at 14:38

    I’ve seen Matt twice in the last 6 months. One of those gigs sent tingles down my spine and had the audience of about 50 struck silent not knowing how to react to his sublime performance.
    I took a friend the second time but he didn’t reach the same heights but the show was still good.
    I’ve recommended him to a friend in LA and she is going to see him on his US tour. I hope Matt brings his A game and blows them away.

  2. February 20, 2012 at 14:56

    […] DONE. Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

  3. Lariss said,

    February 23, 2012 at 10:10

    Wow. Were we at the same gig? Matt Corby appeared silently disgruntled at the disrespectful triple j wannabes with their constant talking during songs. What about the fact that he had to ask the audience whether they wanted an encore after a dismal clap? Matt still managed to perform a solid performance but the crowd had an obvious effect on him. Hope he had better crowds at the remainder of his gigs so he was able to perform to his full potential.

    • February 24, 2012 at 17:24

      I saw him on the 22nd Feb at the corner hotel – he was amazing – breathtaking! This was a very solid performance from start to finish and yes a quiet, respectful audience so that possibley helped but I was blown away by his talent.

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