Matt Costa / G Love & Special Sauce: Showbox, Seattle WA 1.24.07

Folk-rockin’ singer-songwriter Matt Costa is one of those musicians who just seem like they should “make it” (and indeed, he already almost has – but in a different role, as a pro skateboarder).  Now a full-time musician, his music is eminently appealing, hooky and lyrically interesting, with his albums well-produced (though not over-produced) and full of songs showcasing a pleasant stylistic variety.  His clear, occasionally endearingly weary-sounding voice is the centerpiece of his recorded works, much of which would be great soundtrack fodder. 
It is a wonder, then, that this oft-touring performer (he has opened for, among others, Jack Johnson, Built to Spill, and Gomez) seems to have yet attained the notice of a broader audience.  But then, perhaps he has; in his recent role opening for G. Love and Special Sauce, one couldn’t help but notice that the audience seemed at times as attentive in Costa’s performance as during that of G. Love et al.  Costa and his band put on an upbeat performance, playing various songs spanning both his influences (one can hear, among other things, hints of the Beatles and The Shins in his music) and his multi-disc career.  Overall, this is a musician worth seeing; indeed, this review and his plus-one had but two complaints: that Costa hadn’t played the beautiful, harpsichord-laden “Astair,” and that he never removed his black hat and hoodie, respectively.  Perhaps next time…

Costa provided a great warm up to the headlining G. Love and Special Sauce, a musician and band now with enough tenure to have a “Best of” album.  These Philly blues-hip hop-soul rockers have been touring and recording for over a decade now, and it shows.  They played with an impressive and consistent polish, complemented by an impressive intensity for a band that’s been putting in its time for quite some time.  Their efforts did not go unnoticed, as the graying crowd clearly got into the flow, rocking out where space allowed, and often singing along.  Overall, it was a great double-booking, and one would hope G. Love’s established audience, dutifully impressed, will now throw their support behind the talented young Costa.

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