June 19th, 2009. The Seahorse Tavern, Halifax
Fellow Concert goers: Matthew and Peter Bustin
Matt Mays was in town this weekend playing a hometown show before heading out on a cross Canada tour this summer. Recently dropping the El Torpedo part of the band name, Matt was joined on stage with some familiar faces such as Jay Smith (El Torpedo, Rock Ranger) on guitar and vocals, Dale Murray (Cuff the Duke, Hayden, The Guthries) on pedal steel, guitar and vocals, Serge Samson (The Guthries) on bass, Damien Moynihan (Garrett Mason) on drums, and Adam Baldwin (El Torpedo) on keys, and vocals. There was no opening act. Instead Matt came out and played a few songs on acoustic guitar including an excellent version of Travellin from his second album. The rest of the band joined him for a few more songs to round out a half hour set. After what they said would be a short break (which turned into a half hour break), the band returned. It was like a whole new band, the intensity was turned up, the crowd was more into it, and after a few false starts the band ripped through a rocking version of Stand Down at Sundown. All night Matt was having sound problems with his guitar. During What Are We Gonna Do Come the Month of September he tried to fix things, so while he was doing that Jay was improvising guitar solos. It still sounded great. Eventually Matt just got fed up, took off his shirt, threw it to the ground, then grabbed the mic and sang for the rest of the show without a guitar. He pulled it off and was able to entertain and interact with the crowd more than he usually would be able to.
As an encore they came back out to play Cocaine Cowgirl followed by On the Hood. For the last song, he invited Matt Epp to come on stage. When he got up there Matt just said "Holy beard!", probably shocked to realize he didn't have the biggest beard in the room.
There was potential for the show to turn into a disaster, but instead it turned into a memorable experience. Matt seemed comfortable entertaining without a guitar in his hands. Adam looked like Monster from the muppets on the keys the whole time and was always entertaining to watch. Nova Scotian rock and roll at its best.