PEEL’S Centenary Centre was the perfect venue as a full house was treated to a gorgeous set from Ivor Novello award winner Scott Matthews on Saturday night.
With the crowd suitably warmed up after the bright and breezy charm of Christy DeHaven, who finished her support set on a high with a double whammy of Lift Me Up and Girl Undone from her new album, whoops of excitement greeted the Wolverhampton wonder as he stepped onto the stage.
They soon hushed though to take in the fingerpicked tranquillity of opening track The Wasp and the Jar.
And as transfixed appreciation gave way to rapturous applause, a smiling Matthews knew he was in for a great gig.
He attempted the customary Manx Gaelic greeting (fastyr mie, kys t’ou?) which always goes down well, before switching to the nylon-stringed guitar for a second, untitled, song; another slice of delicate and intricate ambience.
Peel resident, gig organiser, artist and long time collaborator of Matthews – Bruno Cavellec – was welcomed to the stage to add cajon percussion to the first truly familiar track of the evening, a rousing version of Dream Song from 2006 debut Passing Stranger.
It’s always good to bring the house down early.
With Jagged Melody, Matthews showed a different sonic texture, easing a deep, resonant chime from his Guild electric guitar and little Roland amp.
Burps, feedback, and snapped strings could do nothing to stall the enjoyable momentum of the show, as Matthews reeled off Eyes Wider Than Before, The Man Who Had Everything, The Fool’s Fooling Himself, City Headache, and the beautiful ballad Ballerina Lake.
Finisher Passing Stranger was greeted like an old friend, drenched in harmonica and ending with a trippy, bluesy jam.
For the encore Matthews played what everybody wanted to hear, Elusive.
And his voice soared in his emotive, dreamy anthem, before finishing the memorable gig with the relaxed groove of Earth to Calm.