It feels like only yesterday that I’d been at Riverside for Matt Berry and the Maypoles 2015 tour.
This time, attracting a slightly denser and much rowdier crowd it was interesting to see how much
had changed in almost a year.
Support act Xylaroo were up once again to start the night off and it was refreshing to see little bit
more of a stage presence this time round. Still fairly reserved; it was definitely clear that since last
December their confidence has grown as well as their discography. A notable part of their set
included a cove of Gloria Gaynor’s ‘I Will Survive’. Xylaroo sure know how to smash a cover and
completely remake it to a song of their own with a pinch of acoustic flair. Another highlight for me
included a song about Hikkaduwa - a beach in Sri Lanka which was hit terribly by the tsunami in
found the song a beautiful and thoughtful tribute the the gorgeous sandy landscape in the pearl of
the Indian Ocean. Playing a selection of songs from their new album Sweetooth, Xylaroo
completely charmed the audience on Friday evening.
Touring across the UK for their new ‘rukurd’ (As Berry Likes to call it) - The Small Hours, Matt Berry
and the Maypoles were up next. They kicked things off with ‘Night Terrors’, a jazzy and progressive
track which reminds me a bit too much of something that should be the soundtrack for Mission
Impossible. Nevertheless the crowd sinked into it easily enough as if you distract yourself from its
spy-like tendencies you can’t deny that it is somewhat of a musical masterpiece - incorporating
trumpets and clarinets to take the listener on a trippy journey. Each individual in the crowd was not
only there for the music but for a comedy fix as well. It’s almost unheard of to go to a Matt Berry gig
without having a giggle as the man simply radiates humour. ‘All the tracks are beautiful, I mean I
wrote them’, he claimed bluntly before jumping into ‘Say it Again’, and receiving a roar from the
Geordie mob. He treated us to some old classics like ‘So Low’, ‘Snuff Box’ and ‘Take My Hand’ as
well as testing out some newbies such as ‘One by One’.
"Probably one of the best frontmen I’ve seen live, Berry doesn't put on a gig, he presents a performance of instrumental experimentation"
‘The thing about playing new songs is that the crowd will literally cheer for anything…this ones
called ‘Dog with Two Dicks’’, before the crowd erupted. Probably one of the best frontmen I’ve
seen live, Berry doesn't put on a gig, he presents a performance of instrumental experimentation
which he takes completely seriously - and why shouldn't he? It can be difficult for some people to
see past the IT Crowd, The Toast of London and Garth Marenghi’s Dark Place but when you do,
you’re exposed to some sheer musical dexterity. A slight disclaimer however…I’ve got to put it out
there that although some tracks on ‘The Small Things’ are brilliant, the older songs will always
have a more prominent place in my Spotify account. Irrelevant of this however, Matt Berry and the
Maypoles put on a cracking night at Riverside and I’m intrigued about where they’ll go from here.