Matthew Good | 02.25.12

mg 0212 sqTwo haunting entries from Avalanche followed, “While We Were Hunting Rabbits” and the title track, the latter a heartbreaking, vivid rendition.


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Double Door, Chicago

Despite suffering from a head cold, Matthew Good delivered an incredibly noteworthy performance full of beautiful songs and entertaining banter. This was a rare U.S.tour, just him and his guitar, and it was well appreciated, if somewhat under attended. But that didn’t stop the Canadian from giving the crowd their money’s worth, and more.

Good got off to a bumpy, if humorous, start, as problems with his in-ear monitor led to him flubbing a line of set opener “Champions of Nothing.” Following that song was perhaps his funniest relay ever, as he discussed Jack Johnson’s songwriting style. “I could post a bunch of words on the wall—beach, love, sunset, baby, angel, together—throw a dart, and put my feet up. I’d love to write songs like that.”

Following a stripped-down version of “Born Losers”—unexpectedly, due to the acoustic nature of the show, the night included a number of rockier numbers, keeping the audience on its toes—he went off on yet another comical tangent. Fully appropriate for the location was “Metal Airplanes” with its line “I’m like the Cubs against the Sox.” Two haunting entries from Avalanche followed, “While We Were Hunting Rabbits” and the title track, the latter a heartbreaking, vivid rendition. I wish I could say that you could hear a pin drop; it wasn’t entirely accurate, but close.

Throughout the show, Good sipped alternately between a tumbler of gin and a bottle of water. He explained the difficulty in performing with a cold, saying, “You can’t tell if you’re in key, so you keep thinking about that moment and not the rest of the song. It’s kind of a metaphor for life,” he concluded.

Next up was a stripped-down rendition of another solid rocker, “Load Me Up,” during which a guy next to me told his friend, “It’s fucking criminal how good he is.” Please don’t talk during the music, kind sir, but you’re spot on in your observation.

Next was the political opinion we’ve come to expect from Matthew Good. “Aren’t you tired of false advertising?” he asked the crowd, referring toU.S.politics. “It’s not really democracy; fuck that. Don’t forget you’ve got that second amendment, which you can use to overthrow the government.” He smiled. “It’s not just for hunting bears in the 1700s, kids.” Later he returned to the subject of hunting, saying he wasn’t wholly opposed to hunting for sport—as long as hunters fought fairly. He suggested using a knife to hunt a bear. After all, it would be a fair fight, right?

The much-welcome “The Fine Art of Falling Apart”—from 2001 rarity Loser Anthems—found him conceding, “I walk alone/ and I ride alone/ and I rock myself to sleep.” “In my opinion, that might be the best song I ever wrote,” he revealed, although lamented the fact that he’d not done it justice on the recording.

Next, he joked about suicide insurance, aka, your best friend having your back—literally. “Lance [his guitar tech] could trip over a two-by-four and accidentally shoot me in the back of the head,” he grinned. “It’s bad to talk about death, I know. But I’ve been dead for 43 seconds, so fuck it,” he said, referring, most likely, to a 2007 Ativan overdose that nearly took his life.

Following rocker “Alert Status Red,” his political side surfaced again as he remarked, “Sixty-nine percent of you still believe Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. How the fuck did that happen?”

“Black Helicopters” was preceded by Good ringing a bell and requesting from Lance “Alcohol. Alcohol. Now.” Later, to the crowd’s delight, he revealed, “Chicagois my favorite city to play in theUnited States. Plus, the greatest band in the world is from here. They’re called Wilco.”

As the gin flowed, he got chattier, interjecting each between-song space with an aside. We learned that Lance had toured the world, playing every country except forCuba, his major-label experience beginning when he was 17. We got a song tease, as Good played the intro to the Beatles’ “Cry Baby Cry,” lamenting the fact that most of the audience wouldn’t even recognize the song. (Guilty as charged.)

Following his official set, Good returned for an unexpectedly long four-song encore, stretching the show past the two-hour mark. The 150 or so in attendance exited into the cold Chicagonight with music in their hearts and smiles on their face, not a disappointed one among them. | Laura Hamlett


Set list

1. Champions of Nothing
2. Born Losers
3. Metal Airplanes
4. While We Were Hunting Rabbits
5. Avalanche
6. Load Me Up
7. The Fine Art of Falling Apart
8. Alert Status Red
9. Black Helicopters
10. Strange Days
11. How It Goes
12. Prime Time Deliverance
13. Apparitions


1. Suburbia
2. Zero Orchestra
3. Sort of a Protest Song
4. Generation X-Wing

About Laura Hamlett 467 Articles
Laura Hamlett is the Managing Editor of PLAYBACK:stl. In a past life, she was also a music publicist and band manager. Besides music, books, and other forms of popular culture, she's a fan of the psychology behind true crime and violent criminals. Ask her about mass murder...if you dare.

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