It's been a couple years since Matt Mays last hit a stage in Vancouver, but with his recent album Once Upon a Hell of a Time out late last year, Mays returned to the Commodore.
Opening the night was his pal and Vancouver musician Dustin Bentall, with his dark roots-rock sound. I missed the first couple songs, arriving just as he started a cover of Lucinda Williams' "Drunken Angel" then going into some boot-stomping tunes like "Six Shooter" and "3000 Miles".
Bentall put on a strong set, and was definitely a good pairing to open the night.
Not long after, Matt Mays and his band took the stage. Starting off with "Faint of Heart" from the recent album, he played a nice mix of new and old throughout the night; from rockers like "Building a Boat" and "Indio" to more chill "Spoonful of Sugar" or "Ola Volo", a song from the new album about a local vancouver artist (who also provided the cover art for his new album).
Mays (and the whole band, really, which included his longtime friend and collaborator Adam Baldwin) were overflowing with passion, and that definitely spread into the crowd, as it was clear how much they loved to be performing. The crowd was hanging on every note, and often singing along, with songs like "Take it on Faith", or just yelling, in the case of "Travellin'".
After the ode to his hometown of Dartmouth in "City of Lakes", Mays ended the main set with a song that I would rank among my all time favourites (not just of Mays), "Terminal Romance". The crowd once more sang along with the heartwrenching lyrics as Mays poured his soul out on stage before momentarily leaving...
And of course coming back out again for another fan favourite, "On The Hood", as Mays jumped into the crowd to sing (and in an amusing moment, he ran to the backstage door to get back around to the stage... and was stopped & checked by the security dude at the door). That right there would have been enough, but they did one more encore-fakeout and came back out one last time for the old hit "Cocaine Cowgirl".
Mays has long been one of my favourite performers, with shows that are always full of raw energy. During the show, he promised it wouldn't be quite as long until next time, and here's hoping it's true.
Faint of Heart
Building a Boat
Spoonful of Sugar
Queen of Portland Street
Take It on Faith
City of Lakes
On the Hood