Last night, May 1st…

(also the 3rd b-day of my 3 yr old nephew who must have drenched himself in the river of cuteness)

….Tac and I attended our first Aqualung concert.  It was also our first time being in The Triple Door; the venue.  It was built in the 20′s and has been preserved very nicely and had wonderful acoustics.  It was really different from our usual show, we even sat down in a comfy booth, enjoyed the classy atmosphere and the company of two wonderful people sitting next to us. Hi Mary and Jonas!

Aqualung plays Seattle with special guest Krista Polvere

I have been enthralled with Matt Hales from the first time I heard him sing and play at a listening station in a music store.  I remember so well that we were on our way out, but the cd caught my eye and I had to listen and I knew in less than 30 seconds that we were buying it, and that I was about to be wonder-struck.

Last month Aqualung released an album titled “Magnetic North.”  At first I wasn’t sure if I would love it as much because some of the songs were happier and enthusiastic; not at all what I have loved or expected from Matt Hales.  But that turned out to only be a few of the songs, and the others were much like his other material, but not exactly either.  I think I’m trying rather unsuccessfully to say that I grew into loving this album with all of the qualities that I already knew I had a strong attachment to and the new ones as well.

Most of the show consisted of Matt Hales at his piano with nothing but a microphone.  Simply put, it was enchanting.  He is magical on his piano and his voice is fabulous.  His lyrics are clever and intelligent, but in an open and unambiguous way.   He sings love songs, he said last night that he is a romantic guy.  I loved his interaction with the audience, Tac said that was actually his favorite part of the show.

About the show…I can’t remember every song that played, my memory isn’t the greatest, and when I’m watching that is all I’m doing.  I don’t want to think about writing or eating or breathing, I only want to soak in every note and sound and feeling.

I do remember however, certain songs such as: “Pressure Suit,” “Something to Believe In,” “Finger Tip” which he introduced to us as having the word “do” in it a lot,  “My New Friend,” “Reel Me In” and “Thin Air,” which he told us was his most romantic song.  I loved hearing details like that, and if you have not heard that song then I will attest that is is incredibly romantic.

“Sundowning,” one of my most favorites from Magnetic North was preceded with Matt telling us about a documentary he watched on dementia and the term sundowning being about the feelings and confusion that can be associated with the sun going down and shadows and darkness appearing.  Then he explained that he used it in more of romantic relationship context, but the meaning remained intact.  That added so much to the richness of the song.

Towards the end of the performance he told us that he would play a few more songs and then he would stop and go back stage, but that he could also be persuaded to come back out and do a few more.  Can I tell you how much I adore this person and his sense of humor in dealing with the weirdness that I have previously referred to about the encore?

He “ended” with “Strange and Beautiful” and just as promised came back shortly.   The encore included “Easier to Lie,” an awesome favorite of Jonas and Mary, “7 Keys,”  which in my opinion one of his best songs, “Breaking My Heart,” which used to make me cry on demand while reading New Moon, and for his last song he played “Brighter Than Sunshine” and asked us to sing along with him.

As some of you read last week, I hurt my self in a bike wreck.  After an MRI we found out that I actually fractured my shoulder and pulled some tendons in my rotator cuff.  Because of this it really hurts me to clap, but Matt was so good that I was doing it anyways.  Tac, who is always taking care of me clapped loud enough for two so I didn’t have to.  He’s pretty sweet.

In closing: I dote on, delight in, am sweet on and nuts about Aqualung!  Also, he puts on a marvelous show.

If you want, you can listen to some of his stuff here.

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  3 Responses to “The Beauteous Matt Hales, a.k.a. Aqualung plays Seattle”

  1. So, I can’t really tell–did you like it okay? ;) Your writing and your love for music is very inspiring. I think I love Aqualung and Matt Hales, too!! (I will listen to it now)

  2. Jen and Tac-
    Hey, nice review! I liked this concert better than the Showbox 3(or so?) years ago… the last time his band (w brother Ben Hales on guitar) distracted from the way Matt can craft and fill a whole song with a grand piano, his voice, and that always-stomping foot. One of my favorites of the night was “another little piece of her heart.” I think the fact that he was on his own also made him feel he could stop and interact with the audience a bit more- which he is really goot at… Triple Door seating, acoustics, decor and wine are also nice.
    Triple Door goers Beware: Benaroya Hall is right across the street, and the shows got out at the same time, making for a HUGE line of cars to get out of the 2nd and Union garage.
    Mary and I ended up giving the sitter a heads-up, then wandering around for a bit… good news is we found an ATM and went back in to buy the new album and say hi to Matt. Happy to have Magnetic North in my car- and great to meet you guys. We’ll keep an eye on your blog and see you at another show soon!

  3. Hi Jen,

    I found your blog! I’m a fellow opponent of the encore – it’s supposed to be an impromptu thing where the band comes back due to an unusually enthusiastic audience. It seems so scripted and cliche nowadays. I’d rather they just stay on stage and fit an extra song or two in during the time that they’d be backstage and the audience is pointlessly yelling for more. I like Sundowning – thanks for posting.

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