Matt Costa | 04.24.13

mattcosta 75All in all, and despite a couple of embarrassingly drunk asshats, it was a feel good night.

mattcosta 500

Firebird, St. Louis

Local singer-songwriter Sam Fickie opened up the night to a respectable crowd that was transfixed by his blend of romanticism and humor. Fickie is a passionate performer whose love and commitment for what he does practically glows out of every pore. I’ve reviewed him before and found his set even stronger than it was the last time. He possesses one of my favorite voices in the local music scene. Fickie is endearing, both as a person and as a performer. I think we’re only seeing the surface of his potential and I am excited to see where time takes him.

I was not at all familiar with The Blank Tapes prior to this show. This is one instance where one could absolutely “judge an album by its cover,” as the band’s copious amounts of hair, leather, and High Times vibe is a perfect match to the groovy, mellow, happy pills of song with which they entranced the crowd. Not only does Matt Adams possess the ability to grow a righteous beard, but he’s also got a warm, soothing, hypnotic tone to his vocals. I look forward to their new LP, which is due out next month.

I’ve been a Matt Costa fan from the beginning. In fact, if we still bought music on cassette tapes, I would have had to replace Songs We Sing like five times over by this point. “Cold December” has a permanent lock on my heart and a place on my Top 20 Favorite Songs Ever list. So, needless to say, I was thrilled when Costa performed a slower acoustic version of it during his encore. I am getting ahead of myself, though. Let’s go back to the beginning of the set.

Costa had been at Vintage Vinyl for an in-store during the opening acts and I just happened to notice him enter Firebird during The Blank Tapes’ set, clad in an eye-catching oversize plaid jacket. Costa is a snazzy dresser. He shed the coat prior to coming onstage, revealing a brown suit with a robin’s egg blue handkerchief in his pocket. When that proved too warm after just a couple of songs, he removed the suit jacket and made mention of his hunter green sweater vest adorned with “chickadees,” and how appropriate it was to go along with his tune “Clipped Wings” from the new self-titled album. 

He started out the set strong, at the keyboard for “Mr. Pitiful.” During a couple of songs following that, there were some sound struggles as his microphone was far too low, making it nearly impossible to hear him, even for those of us standing front and center. This was quickly worked out, and for the remainder of the night the audience was supplied with one treat after another. One of the highlights of the show was Costa strolling offstage to serenade a circle of fans surrounding him in the middle of the floor, followed by a sweet crowd sing-along to “Sunshine.”

All in all, and despite a couple of embarrassingly drunk asshats, it was a feel good night. Costa has consistently impressed me with the growth and depth of his talents and his daring to take risks on each album. Now that I’ve finally had the opportunity to experience his live show, I’m an even bigger fan. | Janet Rhoads


Photography by Chris Lay

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