Acoustic Show with Matt Nathanson and Opening Act Noah Guthrie
By Marlene Hall
Thursday night at the George Mason University’s Performing Arts, Matt Nathanson performed with his partner Aaron Tap. Opening for him was Noah Guthrie. Nathanson’s show was part music and part-stand-up comedy/improv. One of the most audience engaged performances I’ve ever seen. The audience soaked up every minute of Nathanson’s soulful performance.
The only 19 year-old, Guthrie stepped out into the spotlight and shared he was from Greenville, South Carolina. He played seven songs. This man can sing, and I love his growling, bluesy voice. He got famous inadvertently with his YouTube viral video (20 million views) of his coverage of the LMFAO’s song “Sexy and I Know it.” The viral video of his cover led him to perform on “Dancing with the Stars” and “The Today Show.” He is touring in support of his debut album, Among the Wildest Things and just finished touring 80 plus city colleges. He has opened for many music stars like Neon Trees, but according to his website, “His performance opening up for Matt Nathanson at Sonoma State University marks as his most thrilling to date.”
He rocked it on his cover of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It.” He explained he did the cover out of laziness, but his unique twist to it and his gorgeous, growling voice makes the song his own. The fact that he can sing it so straight-laced is a miracle in itself as it is quite a tongue in cheek song, excuse the pun. His guitar playing is as passionate as his singing.
1. You are My Life
4. Cover of LMFAO’s Sexy and I Know it
5. Missing You
6. Death of Me
7. You are my Sunshine
Nathanson owned the show with his amazing stage presence, musical prowess with his singing and guitar playing, witty banter with the audience, and his audience engaged performance. He is touring in support of his new album Last of the Great Pretenders which came out this past July. He is coming off touring England.
Nathanson walked onto stage and said, “Nice to be with you in a dark room- I feel emotionally ready.” He explained he had been all over Fairfax that day, including a record store and Trader Joe’s. For some reason Trader Joe’s got a lot of cheers which Nathanson (and I) found amusing. When someone from the crowd yelled she loved Nathanson’s partner Aaron Tap, Nathanson joked that he was fired for “poking the bear” as Tap gamely pretended to walk off-stage.
Nathanson played 18 songs and apparently went a little bit past George Mason’s curfew. He is such a rebel, so rock ‘n roll! He led his first song called “Kill the Lights.” It is an erotic song where he sings about “I found religion in the record store, I found heaven on your kitchen floor.” The women in the crowd, wooed to the line about the “..kitchen floor.”
Next Nathanson proclaimed his next song was about female empowerment, called “Modern Love.” However, before he sang he joked around with an audience member who reminded him of a British professor. He asked the guy if he played football with his feet. Then another crowd member made a somewhat patriotic comment that a football should be thrown. Much laughter from the audience. I don’t think I’ve laughed this hard at a concert ever. Too much fun.
Next came “Mercy.” He was having the audience clap along, but the momentum sort of stopped with that so he playfully teased another audience member, “who was leading the clapping charge, but then sort of gave up,” as he put it.
He started off his next number as a Hall and Oates homage and said he was looking for songs to play for his summer tour with Gavin DeGraw. The audience appreciated the beginning notes of the Hall and Oates’ song. Then someone yelled, “Free Bird!” Again, much laughter. Nathanson explained they rarely do acoustic shows so this was a special show. Usually, “It’s fireworks and dancers!” explained Nathanson. “Tonight I feel love!” Nathanson then launched into “Still.”
I particularly loved his and Tapp’s cover of Prince’s “Little Red Corvette.” I guess I like covers, but the way Tapp and Nathanson vocalized off of each other is gorgeous. Also a huge hit with the crowd of course is Nathanson’s hit “Get Higher.” Nathanson has a sensuality to his voice that makes every women in the room feel desired. He also danced while playing and sometimes pretends to the kick mike. He is adorable in a manly way.
This concert was a lot of fun and I loved how Nathanson connected with the audience more than any other musician I’ve ever seen. I felt engaged the whole time and enjoyed the banter. I even got in the act myself when he sang his final lsong in front of the stage away from the mic. He asked if the crowd could still hear him and I yelled, “I can hear you!” Nathanson acknowledged me with a wave and a funny, sarcastic remark, “Thank you!”
MATT’S SET LIST:
1. Kill the Lights
2. Modern Love
5. Annie’s Always Waiting (For The Next One To Leave)
6. Curve of the Earth
8. Car Crash
9. Little Red Corvette
10. Laid (cover)
11. All Been Said Before
12. Sky High Honey
13. Room at the End of the World
15. Kinks Shirt
17. Come On Get Higher
Running Time: Thirty minutes for Guthrie, and almost two hours for Nathanson. Two hours and 30 minutes total.
Matt Nathanson with Opener Noah Guthrie performed at the George Mason Performing Arts Concert Hall-4373 Mason Pond Drive, in Fairfax, Virginia for one night only on April 3, 2014. For future events, check their events calendar.
Matt Nathanson’s website:
Noah Guthrie’s website.