Article written by Rashon A. Massey
MATT COSTA DAY
Originally published May 10, 2006
I cannot tell you how excited I was for the Curious George movie. My eagerness for the film was only perpetuated by the release of the motion picture soundtrack. The compilation, entirely produced by Brushfire Records own Jack Johnson, is a refreshing sound for generations young and old.
Tracks from the album, such as the single, “Upside Down,” all send a message of hope and promise to the listener. Johnson reminds us of the value of the 3 R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle), sharing and questioning our role in being a leader for any change we want to see enacted. Bringing on board friends like G. Love and Ben Harper to lend artistic styling to the recording, Johnson made it clear that Brushfire Records has music that the masses should hear. With that being said, it is obvious why the music man seized that perfect opportunity to share with the world a fresh face and voice in the entertainment industry. Thus Matt Costa’s arrival.
With a gentle picking pattern that you would expect to come from a babies crib mobile, Matt Costa coasted into the ears of the world with the simple track, “Lullaby.” With Jack accompanying on guitar and vocal harmony, this subtle contribution to the album allowed for Costa to have easy access to an audience ranging from kindergarten classrooms to college students, and having a voice that sounds like a mix of Donovan and Paul Simon makes him a favorite with middle aged women. Not too long ago after over playing the soundtrack, I began hearing radio play for Matt’s first single, “Cold December.” The track became incessantly catchy, and I soon found myself nabbing up a copy of Songs We Sing, his debut album.
Really, it could not have come at better time. After closing out this semester, I had been looking for a couple of good summer albums to play while sailing across the roads of America, and upon placing Costa in the player, I knew I had found one of them. While searching for upcoming shows and artist to catch, I learned he would be in the neighborhood doing a show at Detroit’s Magic Stick on May 10. Figured now was a better time than any to go out for an evening and check out the Costa. Not going to lie, I befriended the chap on MySpace.com and about two weeks prior to the show, learned he would also be doing an in-store performance and signing at the Ann Arbor Borders. So I called forth the friends, and proclaimed May 10th, Matt Costa Day!
At approximately 11:30 a.m. on the 10th, we band of characters consisting of Chewy, Heath, Benji, Randy and myself, set forth to Borders to see the Costa. Being the fresh, beer-drinking men we are, we didn’t bother showering [some cases brushing teeth for the matter. I won’t say whom though. I’m not dirty like that] or donning clean clothes. We just took off in Chew’s blue Neon, notorious for it’s pizza deliveries in this area, and headed down Washtenaw road straight into A2.
Once in town, and after finding a place to park, we found an old parking ticket envelope on the ground just waiting to be picked up and placed on a windshield. So we did. It was in mere hopes that it would be a device to fool a passing officer that we had already been ticketed. It was perfect you see. We made our way to and inside Borders and browsed the selection of new CD’s by artists such as Gnarls Barkley’s, St. Elsewhere, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium (which we recommend owning both copies of). Costa was set to go on at around 12:30 p.m., but he was running late. We sat patiently, well, not so much Benji, before Costa arrived. People from Boarders, and some radio station, kept uncomfortably talking to us, hoping to secure the large crowd; however, it was not needed and soon Matt and band arrived and began sound checking.
He entered and set up like a seasoned performer of the ‘quick gig’ type. The way he very calmly prepared the space with his band was so well rehearsed and organized, I bet if I asked him randomly on the street to play something, a guitar would magically be ready for an appearance, and four, whom I thought to be strangers, would turn with instrumentation and begin jamming. Which I liked! The radio interviewer, who was pretty fucking lame, and Borders representatives, carelessly showed their impatient faces while Costa slowly warmed up, and worked with the in store sound guy to get the levels good enough. And let me share that I appreciated this because if he had begun, and something were out of tune, microphone had leveling troubles, or any series of problematic factors and events, the audience would not have been treated to a fair show. And he might be young, but he knows that.
Between myself and Benji, we took some nice shots of Matt’s performance as he offered the audience album tracks such as “Ballad of Miss Kate”, “Astair”, and “Oh Dear.” He mentioned being a fan of Donovan growing up, and also treated us to a cover of “Jennifer Juniper.” We made sure to record some of the great live in store performance, even capturing video of Matt saying a special hello to everyone watching from TheRFW.com. Once we got home, we realized that the audio didn’t record for a single then. Bah Humbug! After Borders, we headed to Ann Arbor’s Dominick’s, and sipped on some fine glasses of Sangria and talked about some ladies named Sarah and Renee. It’s hangman thing, I’ll teach ya later.
-By the way, when we got back to the car, there was a ticket and a note that said, “You got served, Bitches!”-
Once evening rolled around, and after Benji and I indulged in fine, homemade soup cooked at his parents home, the two of us ventured to the Magic Stick for Costa’s evening performance. A band, The 88, opened for him. I was prepped for some half decent musicians to hold us hostage for a time before the main event began, but these guys ‘rocked my socks.’ Music that had an old-time Strokes and White Stripes drive in the drum, rocked in the air of a Ben Folds Five type aura. Different and I dug it. Trying to find out more about them. At the end of their set, they invited Costa on stage for a performance and the crowd went wild. I think some ladies wet their panties. It was crazy!
Costa began his set, with his band, not too long after. His set list ran:
Acting Life A Fool
Behind the Moon
Ballad of Miss Kate
Whiskey & Wine
We headed back to Ypsilanti, to come to our home and get some rest. It had been a full day and much writing and designing was ahead, but damn- it was sweet!