The 1990s and early 2000s were a heady time for us all. It was the last time where radio ruled supreme, and as such, a band was made or broken whether they could get a coveted rotation slot on stations. This also was an interesting time for bands in North America, as what became popular in Canada due to Canadian Content requirements and what the United States pushed could sometimes make for a situation where an immensely popular band in Canada was scarcely heard of in the US. Case in point: Matthew Good Band, a group of British Columbians whose albums netted them 14 Juno nominations which include two wins for "Best Group" and "Best Rock Album" for Beautiful Midnight in 2000.
If I may make an aside as to the importance of college radio for a moment, as a teen living in the US in a time where internet was slow and largely fragmented: I only heard about this band when a DJ at my local college station (WIXQ 91.7) played the last track off of the Juno winning album. I was immediately hooked. From there, as I was looking at the used section in my local music store, I saw the CD for $1.99, and being a
cheap frugal person, I thought that was a pretty good (pun) deal.
Since then, the law of diminishing returns on Matthew Good has been at play, so when I heard he was going to be performing "Beautiful Midnight" for this tour, I decided to reclaim a lost time.
With that in mind I trekked to the Corona to get a good nostalgia fix.
First up, let me talk about Craig Strickland, who I only got a few songs of his set. Simply put: it was fine. Nothing too spectacular, not bad, totally acceptable. I know that's not an in-depth review of the performance, but honestly anything more is just for word count.
After that and one slightly out of place opera intro piece, the familiar cheerleader beginning of "Giant" began. From then on, the show was a trip down memory lane as Matthew Good and whatever band of musicians he has doing the rounds on this tour went through the tracks of the album, doing faithful renditions of such favorites as "Hello Time Bomb," "Load Me Up."
This show was, however, not without its faults. Between a good chunk of songs, Matthew went on long extended talk breaks which weren’t necessarily a deal breaker—I used to watch Behind the Music like any good 90s kid—but these were not long dissertations of the songs, just long musings about being a Canadiens fan or his love of bourbon. Not all were without merit though, as he did stop to honor the memory of Chuck Berry who had passed away earlier in the day.
Of course, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the funniest part of the evening. Somewhere during the set, the guitarist went to grab a drill to play with (because reasons) and the tech who handed it to him gave him the drill with a big floppy dildo at the end. In true band fashion, this was chucked into the audience, which I both secretly hope and don't hope slapped someone in the face mainly for the pure ridiculous story that would provide.
The band also ended the show at 10:45 p.m. after a three-song encore. Now, I'm not a person to tell a band how to do their job, but 15 minutes is at least three songs you could have fit in to try to round out some of the other notable songs from your repertoire that could have made someone's night, and not taking advantage of that felt like a missed opportunity.
Still though, the hits outweighed the misses, and I walked away from the show surprised and pleased that I enjoyed it as thoroughly as I did. Also, it gives me great pleasure to know that someone in the city of Montreal gets to utter the phrase, "Oh yeah, I managed to get a dildo from a Matthew Good show."