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Live: Yoav, Ard Matthews

2011-08-16 14:17
The Assembly, August 13 - The Assembly isn’t used to this kind of emptiness. Bouncers stood in bleak huddles with the slightly worried and out-of-place expressions that staff generally have when they outnumber their customers. One of the barmen spoke to me sulkily of the failure the previous night and his fears that this night would be no better.

His doubts were laid to rest though as people began to trickle in, steadily if slowly. By the time Ard Matthews took the stage he could smile cheerfully at a full, though perhaps slightly frozen over, audience.

The first few chords of System Used seemed to melt this metaphorical layer of ice immediately. Ard drew tunes both powerful and elegant out of his acoustic guitar, but his voice was the star of this show, as it usually is.

Guy inna band

For the next few songs I was lost listening to a man who not only sings far beyond the range of the average "guy inna band", but who hits every note unfailingly – an unusual occurrence with frontmen these days. With a promise that Just Jinjer is not dead and a soul-shivering rendition of What He Means, Ard left us and didn’t come back, even when we howled for more.

Then Yoav took the stage, immediately grabbing everyone's attention by kicking into heavy bass. His slightly electronic sound is instantly captivating, but the really impressive feat is just how he creates his music.

He too held an acoustic guitar, but added to this was an extra microphone and a few pedals. Yoav fashions songs that you tell yourself needs an entire studio to do, with nothing more than the tools he has on stage. By the time it came to his cover of The Pixies' Where Is My Mind the crowd was infatuated. We had  all been rewarded for braving the cold and boy, was it worth it.

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