The Place, Bedford
I approached this gig with slight reluctance after a superb evening watching Jeffrey Foucault at the Water Rats the previous night and Jason Isbell the previous week. It was cold and miserable and I had a distinct “why did I book this” vibe, especially after Mrs. T lit the fire. Nonetheless I sallied out to Bedford, surely the town Google Maps was invented for – does anyone know how to get around the concentric one way systems?
The Place is clearly an old industrial unit with pitted carpark and depthless puddles into which to plunge your desert boot. However things picked up immediately on entry, with the entirely volunteer staffed team providing a warm welcome and the bright, well stocked bar a restorative glass. The room is clearly a generic live space which can accommodate the local Cubs, a Christmas panto or, it turns out, a sterling evening of acoustic music.
Support is provided by Samantha Whates singing lovely songs from her “Waiting Rooms” CD which was recorded in a series of venues where people are in transit to somewhere else – station, prisons…and they are lovely. Old pal @feedback_file says she sounds like Feist, and I thought there was more than a bit of Joni in there…whatever, she sets a good mood for Matt Deighton. I bought her CD on the merch stall and it’s excellent.
Our man perches on a tall stood (with a tasty looking Martin D28 for guitar nerds), and suddenly I’m so glad I came. Wearing nostalgia inducing Oxblood monkey boots, double denim and the chunky chain from the “Doubtless Dauntless” album cover, Matt pulls songs from his extensive repertoire covering acid jazz (whatever that is, I am sure it’s not MD) band Mother Earth, The Bench Collective nu-folk gathering, Britpop supergroup The Family Silver or his more recent solo albums. They all add up to a coherent set and are quite beautiful. As Feedback put it, “bloke with acoustic guitar” can pall quite quickly but that was not the case here. I was also intrigued by his guitar playing where he detunes the bottom E string and plays bass guitar parts with his thumb as he nips up and down the neck, finger picking and playing little lead fills as he goes. A really unique style approaching Richard Thompson levels of “how the flip is he doing that”.
With the lights down the venue is a delight, comfortable with a superb sound. All in all a fab night out and I write this a week later as there are dates left on the schedule and I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out. Get down there!
Smaller than it should have been, but enthusiastic and enthralled I’d say.
It made me think..
Critics refer to Matt as the new Nick Drake or similar lazy comparison usually given to a quiet, slightly delicate voice and finger picked guitar. I can comfortably state this is rubbish, he sounds nothing like Nick Drake but a whole lot like Matt Deighton and that is more than enough.