Smiley - drummer to  the stars
Anti-folk trail...... 12 Bar Club......MAJOR MATT MASON - 22nd July

The 12 Bar is busy and Matt’s tired from his whirlwind tour of England, he was in Sheffield last night playing with ‘Beauty Shop’ and others from Francis Macdonald’s Shoeshine Records label ‘stable’.

He likens the whole experience to spaceships and we climb aboard for planet Matt. There are fans here. They know, love, want the tunes.....

.......and if the boy’s tired it don’t show in his songs. Anyone that’s dog tired and can still play consistently intelligent, lyrically challenging tunes whilst retaining a sense of humour for a whole 80 minutes gets my vote. I listened to every word he sang or spoke. He is a storyteller of unmistakable proportions and NY tales unfold from his unassuming figure, a Jeff Lewis/Billy Bragg kind of thing. No heavy guitars or pogo, no distortion or cathartic inter song confessionals. The songs speak for themselves.

Sweeping chorus’, chiming simple guitar.....’Holding hands, rape the land, misunderstood, Robin Hood, check the score, rich or poor, you are Hunted, it’s not the same as being wanted.....’ It’s the sort of album you buy so you can learn the words, big melodies with understated vocals.

‘...when your skin gets too thick you go for a peeling’, this is a song about a girl,....’you’re a girl, and I like it a lot, and if you don’t know by now girl, I’m not’.

Matt is blown away by the 12 Bar, and if you haven’t been yet you are missing out. He feels like a cheerleader.... ‘show us your arse then’, they want flesh, he is reluctant......
‘Naaa, you don’t want to see my arse after 9 days of touring’. They do.

‘The Ballad of Danny Scheer’ is a mighty chugging tune, ‘we had falafel, it was awful, we were both unemployed............I want to take her where she wants to go, where are you hiding Danny Scheer’. He follows with ‘Inside You’ then ‘Black Hole’ .....’baby I can’t figure you out, you can tell a lot about someone by the way they decorate their halls’.

Then straight into ‘The Price is Right’ ‘...I knew a man a long time ago who said the more you think the less you know the less you know the less you feel the less you win, the less you deal......Come on down and meet the crown, I’ll offer you a home, I’ll make you up and fill your cup and dump it on your head...’ You should just buy the record.

I’ve heard some of the Major’s tunes before, through the ‘Prewar Yardsale’ massive (pleasure) and when he got to those familiar songs I felt like some new born fan with a knee jerk reaction waving from the balcony, ‘Oooh yeah, I know this one’. Maybe that’s it for me, the vibe is very intimate. It’s a personal touch in a world of nose jobs and face scrapes, and like all the folks I have seen from this East Village collective of eclectics, Major does what he does fucking great, without trying to be someone else.

After 60 minutes he took some persuasion to play more, ‘oh you’re just a waitress but you opened my eyes, and a servants just a master in disguise’.......the lines just kept coming, 3 encores and they still want more.

Major Matt’s ‘Me Me Me’ is now playing on my CD player. I met him after and he was just about to explain Anti-folk when some newly fledged fan readily handed over a tenner for a copy. His new offering is nearly ready to be enjoyed, so check it, get it, ‘Honey Are You Ready for the Ballet’, yes I am.

Little Miss Bigmouth – trakMARX – July 2002
Shoeshine Records:

contact - the needle & the damage done