Matthew and the Atlas @ The Castle and Falcon, 18 May 2019

Combining provocatively poetic lyrics with masterfully layered sonic dreamscapes Matthew and the Atlas create timeless music that invites you into another dimension. With soft electronic fuzz intertwining with acoustically tinged sophistication Matthew and the Atlas, led by Matt Hegarty, created a transformative evening at The Castle and Falcon. New Album Morning Dancer was intermittent with familiar singles, leaving fans satiated with musical beauty.

The tiny stage at The Castle and Falcon could barely contain the totality of Matthew and the Atlas. The band, strewn across every bit of stage, causally jumped on stage and opened the night with ‘On a Midnight Street.’ The ambient mood-lifting tune was transfixing; Matthew’s textured and deep vocals guided each emotional word, creating an explorative song that was obviously loved by fans. As the song ended the guitar fluttered, opening ‘Pale Sun Rose.’  In anthemic waves of muted sound the playful song flowed through the room, the crowd bopping along as the drums echoed.

After some stage banter and tuning the band picked up the tempo as ‘Pyres’ and new release ‘Waging a War.’ With a sort of beachy rock undertone the tunes were layered sonic masterpieces that oozed a relaxed, cool sound. Matthew’s vocals opened ‘Cali,’ his textured voice shinning in the simplicity of the track. With poetic poignancy and mystical moments ‘Palace’ and ‘Can’t You See’ captured those moments of still beauty that have come to typify a Matthew and the Atlas show.

The band slowly sauntered off stage, leaving Matthew alone. Stepping away from the microphone Matthew launched into ‘Calling Long Distance.’ As fans hummed along, the sound of their shoes moving on the sticky floor, Matthew sang in the ultimate form of simplicity, a breathtaking musical moment. The room was brought back to life as ecstasy infused ‘Low’ was followed by rock tinged ‘Plaything.’ New tune ‘High Fire’ maintained that uptempo rock undertone, a clear delight to the fans who danced along. The set rounded out with sweet fan favourite ‘Elijah’ and sombre ‘Out of Darkness.

After a quick offstage moment the band came back for the encore but rather than setting up on their instruments the band waded into the crowd for ‘Within the Rose.’  Another display of their connection with fans, the band sung amongst the choir of rowdy audience members. The moment was musical magic, those bright spots of intimacy that you long for at each show. The night ended with indie folk rock ‘I Will Remain,’ a clear crowd pleasure.

Matthew and the Atlas are a special band; with music that is explorative and transfixing they create a show that is at both sides personal and intimate. At The Castle and Falcon their musical masterpieces were on full display, curating a set that was explorative and transfixing. This music was not performed at a distance, but rather Matthew and the Atlas purposefully intertwined with the fans, creating a familial atmosphere that really felt like a special moment in time.


Review: Kylie McCormick

Photos: Andra Tudoran






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