Live Review


I was speeding south on the 405 past the Home Depot Center but was not yet to the 710 when the moment of clarity hit: I had to pee, I could not pull over, and in 20 seconds, it would all be done. Similar thoughts had been in my head 90 minutes earlier, when Senior Recreation joined a couple of laptops onstage at the Troubadour, openers on a triple bill featuring OC powerhouses Richard Swift and Matt Costa. Bladder infections? Some bitches, man. Still: pee or no pee, I was going to make it through the show—even if Costa's name's been kicked about by the Weekly so much Rebecca Schoenkopf wants a moratorium on the dude. Here's what I remember: Senior Recreation—hey, guys, the new DVD background works much better; I wish you'd play the third track from your mini-EP live; if someone doesn't book you at a festival with Coldplay or somesuch band soon, I'll shoot myself. And Richard Swift? Hello, Cheez Whiz! You are great with everything: slow, jangly Dr. John jams? You got 'em. Jumpy Joe Jackson piano melodies? Bam! I didn't like you much two years ago, man, but you ditched the Elvis Costello-ish voice for something much purer and God-bless-you heartbreaking, and you were so good—SO GOOD—that I started bouncing around and dancing and then, minutes later, I was sprinting across Santa Monica Boulevard, hoping to hop in my car and make it home before I peed myself. I didn't. Richard Swift, ladies and gentlemen: so good I pissed myself.

But not before I called in backup—our luvly new calendar assistant, Miss Vickie Chang, who had this to say:

"Admittedly, I hadn't heard a damn thing about thee Matt Costa until I got to the Weekly. Even then, I figured him for just another cute boy with an acoustic guitar playing cute songs for cute girls who think he's really cute. And I was right—kind of. The Troubadour show only added to the equation: while high-pitched declarations of love were definitely in abundance, his sentimentality-tinged tracks managed to win over even this skeptic—and others. With guitar in hand (and harmonica in mouth?), he appeared to be completely at ease, as if standing behind a mic in front of this sold-out, adoring and diverse audience in LA, some 40 miles from his digs in Huntington Beach, was the most natural place to be in the world. So whenever my vision wasn't blocked by a girl in a massive furry white hat (with matching boots!), Costa's relaxed approach—paired with frequent audience participation—made for a perfectly remarkable campfire sing-along atmosphere. And unlike most cute boys with acoustic guitars these days, Costa is no one-trick pony: check the range of influences in his alluring melodies, and you'll find baroque harpsichord trills on 'Astair' and ragtime piano solos on 'Oh Dear' and much, much Donovanesque folk pleasantry. It's cute, yeah, but good-cute. Really good-cute."


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