Matthew Good at The Centre of Performing ArtsPhotos by Will McClary
On Monday, November 9th, I experienced a bit of a high school flashback as I sat down in my seat at the Centre for Performing Arts waiting to review Matthew Good. I remembered The Matthew Good Band to be a constant presence in my life, and on Much Music, while I was getting through my final grades, with hit songs like “Apparitions” and “Strange Days” a constant presence on the radio and my mix-tapes. Since then I seemed to lose touch with the Vancouver-based artist until the release of his most recent album, titled “Vancouver.” Less of an ode to the musician’s hometown of Vancouver and more of a political critique, Matthew Good has exercised his unfailing ability to write a great set of songs that are as equally rich in melody as they are in social commentary. With his new song “The Vancouver National Anthem,” Good successfully addresses the dichotomy between the wealthy and the disenfranchised in Vancouver’s downtown core, with lyrics including “It’s five block a universe and aliens for each/ like invisible ghettos of privilege and grief/ and pinned up between them the carrion fly/ living off skeletons of recycled lives…we all live downtown…step over ourselves…”
With Vancouver’s Mother Mother performing an excellent opening act, which included their hit songs “Wrecking Ball,” “Hayloft,” and much more, Matthew Good took to the stage in a timely fashion and continued to drive though his many hits with ease. With a good sense of humour, and a great deal of tongue-and-cheek banter between himself and his devoted fans in the crowd, it became quickly evident that he has been doing the whole music thing for a while (and doing it well might I add). The show, which was being recorded live by CBC Radio, was pitch-perfect. Good and his three band mates successfully rocked out in the rather formal venue and had fans squirming with the need to get out of their seats and start pumping their fists. It was also made quickly evident that Mr. Good has had quite the career so far, with fans constantly calling out requests for what seemed to be an endless list of favourite songs.
During the show, Good, who has long been labelled an activist alongside being a musician, not only made his views on the political/social state of Vancouver clear through his music, but also had a lot to say during the evening. When commenting on the upcoming Olympic Games in February, and the recently passed Bill 13 (which enables authorities to enter private residences and remove anti-Olympic signage) Good made his views clear stating that the Olympics are “costing us a lot more than just money…and [that] the last time [he] checked we lived in a free fucking society!”
Overall, Matthew Good put on a performance that simply reaffirms his status as a great Canadian musician that we can be proud of, and not only for his musical talent but also for his willingness to address important social and political issues in his work. With an incredibly varied fan-base of all ages, and a two-night showing at the Centre, it is clear that Mr. Good is here to stay.