Seeing Matt Mays for my first time ever on a small stage was one show I couldn’t miss out on and after seeing Matt May’s performance last night at the Horseshoe I felt the compulsion to describe it’s awesomeness. Ladies of the Canyon were the openers, a country rock group of female musicians from Montreal that definitely set the mood for a night of real Americana music appreciation.
When Matt started playing after some banter with the ‘Shoe’s owner, I discovered that despite my obsession with photography, I had to restrain myself and leave my camera down throughout the majority of the show. Not because of how crowded and tight it was from all the people trying to get as close to Matt as they possibly could, no I simply had to lower my camera out of respect and awe of such an unbridled performance. I just needed to relish the moment and refuse to partake in the all too familar persistence of recording devices blocking the actual view of who we all came to see.
The night began with “Indio” followed by “take it on faith,” and “tall tress” which I could not resist dancing to so that’s about the time my camera said goodnight. Slower numbers created a mellow vibe. “Loveless” turned into an unexpected long jam session that was euphoric and I couldn’t stop bopping up and down to the bold beat of “rock ranger record.” I had to close my eyes and get lost in the feel of “city lakes.” During “Chase the light” I wonder if anyone else got the overwhelming urge to pull out their lighters. As the night drew to a close we all got to hear fan favourite “Terminal Romance” and we were awarded a collaborative cover performance of The Band’s “The weight” with Mays and Ladies of the Canyon which was epic! I don’t think anyone left the ‘shoe feeling dissatisfied.
The standing only factor is always so perfect combined with the intimacy and familiarity of the Horseshoe Tavern. Such a legendary but small venue for a musician who can easily draw in a much larger crowd. I couldn’t help feeling incredibly lucky to see Mays there and celebrate the longevity and greatness of the Horseshoe as a live music venue.