My companion and I left Exeter at 5:20pm, armed with half a tank of petrol and a lot of faith in Google Maps. Surprisingly, our journey was extremely smooth, and we arrived in Bristol, found free parking (!), and got our stamps. Bristol University’s Student Union was hosting the event, and although their student bar is a lot swankier and brighter than ours, we realised nothing beats the cosiness of the Ram.
A Wagamama’s and a cider later, we shuffled into the Anson Room, about 10 minutes before Matt Corby was due to come on. The atmosphere was wonderful; a room filled with like-minded students, wanting to chill out and appreciate great acoustic music as a mid-week pick me up. Demographically, the room was filled with couples, Corby lookalikes, and the stereotypical Bristolian “vibemeister”. However, it was refreshing to go to a gig where the majority of the audience were students; it was communal, and I felt like everyone there shared a similar outlook.
Matt Corby, dressed in black jeans and a loose necked, slightly baggy black top, his golden curls framing his slightly bearded face, soon sauntered onto the stage, and without a word, began playing. And my god, did he play well. The purest voice, the most minimal of staging and fuss, my companion and I described him as ‘wholesome’. Matt Corby really embodies simplicity. There was nothing but a black backdrop, and his three other band members. The lighting hit him in such a way that he literally glowed, making him look even more angelic, and even a little Jesus-like.
Most of his tracks have gospel undertones, inspired by his upbringing, and I think I can speak for the audience in saying that it was incredibly enjoyable to sing along to all of the ooh’s and ah’s. Corby didn’t change his songs like some do when they play live, which really enhanced the experience of listening because the songs were familiar; there were no surprises or unexpected elements of the gig, which was actually truly welcome – it was a comforting, soothing evening.
In the encore, Matt brought out his flute, and played one last song that lasted over 5 minutes. The audience hushed each other, and there was a collective appreciation for an instrument that is so rarely seen in contemporary music. At this point, I must admit I had to hold back the tears!
Afterwards, we headed home, maintaining our mood with a chill-out playlist featuring the likes of Aquilo and Jack Garratt, and made it back to Exeter for just gone 12, feeling like our souls had been soothed. I’d like to thank my companion and chauffeur, Sophie Lavender, and Razz Magazine, for giving me the opportunity to experience such a wonderful evening.