U.Va. for (Matt) Hires
Artist's house show charms Charlottesville audience
Independent artist Matt Hires performed in Charlottesville Thursday night in his third stop in a series of house shows. Performing with Hires were fellow musicians Kyle Cox and Randall Kent, who provided the show with the occasional harmony or mandolin strum, and most importantly, fantastic facial hair. The duo treated the audience with their own original music, exuding folk and indie influences.
The 14th Street venue provided a light and homey atmosphere, making the show feel like a personalized concert, cultivating an intimacy that fans and ticket holders rarely experience. Hines and his crew posted up on a homemade wooden stage, while the audience sat on an assortment of couches, porch seats and folding chairs, surrounded by mounted deer heads and American flags.
The performance was nothing short of charming, all three performers coming across as effortlessly charismatic in their sincere efforts to acquaint themselves with the audience. Hire’s willingness to customize his show for the audience and answer questions like “Are you single?!” lent a uniquely cozy tone to the show.
The highlight of the night was when Cox joined a group of guys on the porch who ordered pizza — rather than fans coming to see a show, the show was just a chance to kick back and hang out with “the guys,” with no illusion of hierarchy.
The music itself was very pleasant, especially when all three artists sang together in harmony. Hires’ tone was unexpected — carrying a somewhat gritty sound despite his easy-going acoustic accompaniment. Cox’s harmonica playing, too, added an element to the music urging people to tap their feet, cultivating a sense of joy as the audience listened along.
Hires, Cox and Kent are spending the next few months traveling around the country to promote their independently produced music, including Hires’ new EP, “Heartache Machine.”