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One of Australia’s rising stars made sweet, musical love to punters at Sydney’s Hordern Pavilion on Friday night. Matt Corby, known for his soulful and folky tunes, entertained a sold-out crowd with the help of support acts Bree Tranter and Bear’s Den.
Corby opened with Lighthome and that trademark husky voice left us breathless from the outset. Amidst the throaty yells was squealing from teenies – “I love you Matt!” – as they were pulled out of the mosh by security. The talented multi-instrumentalist hopped on the electric piano for a heart-warming performance of Made Of Stone as the band, more of an extension of Corby himself rather than accompanists, swayed in time with the music.
About halfway through the set, Corby played Resolution and the Pavilion lit up with phone screens. It was after this song that he spoke for the first time, asking the crowd if we were all cool. We were. A man of few words, he let his music speak for itself for much of the evening.
During his time onstage, Corby did a duet with support act Bree Tranter. Tranter, a former member of The Middle East, made a perfect musical coupling with Corby on Big Eyes, her wispy vocals perfectly complimenting Corby’s deep and resonant voice.
Corby also performed two covers during the night. The first, Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s Almost Cut My Hair, gave him a chance to show off his electric guitar skills. The second, The Black Keys’ Lonely Boy, was much warmer than his rendition for triple j’s Like a Version. Listening to Corby sing “Yo mama” was worth the ticket price alone.
Next came the telltale “oo-oh-oo” of Brother, and once again the Pavilion lit up once with phone screens. After this, Corby played one of his newer songs Trick of the Light, which has a groovy beat, jazzy overtones and even a funky flute line. It may have been the highlight of the evening. During this song, Corby lost himself and started scatting and beat-boxing, recording his vocal riffs on a loop station.
The last song before the encore was bluesy Souls A’fire, a showcase for Corby’s vocal talent, and after a short wait he came out again to perform Untitled. There was an audible gasp from the crowd every time Corby did one of those throaty crescendos he is famous for, and left my hair standing on end. His final song, My False, was more upbeat and had the crowd clapping and even swing-dancing.
Corby himself, while a great recording artist, truly shines onstage and his EPs are only a glimpse of what he is fully capable of. He is the musical lovechild of Jeff Buckley and Boy & Bear – emotional, raw, earthy and always in control – and the beautiful, bearded man was nothing short of fantastic on Friday.