First published on 13 Jun 2012. Updated on 13 Jun 2012.
Matt Corby brings a fair bit of baggage to a stage. For starters, he got his start on Australian Idol – a hard beginning to shake if you're not wanting to go the Guy Sebastian-Jessica Mauboy-Ricki-Lee pop route. And then there's that song. If a bloke named Gotye had not have released a certain duet last year, Corby's 'Brother' might have been the most earworm-y, awesome and then played-so-often-you're-over-it Australian song on radio. As Corby walked quietly onto the Metro stage last night, several members of the audience sent forth what someone I was with called the 'Brother' "mating call" – "ooo-ooo, ooo-ooo".
It's to Corby's credit that he handles himself with a huge amount of calm and dignity on stage, playing his earnest, Mumford-ish set as random cries of "Play 'Brother'!" rise from the audience – along with an occasional (and completeley justified) call of "You're so sexy!" And it's to his credit too that he wins over an audience that has mostly never heard the other songs that make up his four EPs. After show opener 'Song for...', the crowd of young girls and lithe and bearded fellas stop muttering about being here for one song and settle in for a quiet, at times rather moving show.
Corby doesn't do much to please or charm between songs – there's an occasional story about a song's origins, such as one that, yes, came to him in a dream. And you get the feeling he'd rather be doing this somewhere nobody was watching. But he wins with his voice, a beast of a thing that drops from the high of that 'Brother' call to a fierce, thrown-out-there growl in moments. He's capable of incredible tenderness, too, which he shows in a slight but beautiful tune dedicated to and named for his sick grandmother, 'June'. Full credit to an awesomely bearded band, too, and a gorgeous waif on keys.
When he plays 'Brother' – surprisingly, just over halfway through the set – it hits the spot for those in the room. And it reminds that there's a reason songs like this are overplayed: it's pretty darn good. Last night at the Metro, Corby proved he is too. Beter than that, really. And we reckon in a few years, with more good tunes and even more distance from the TV show that introduced him and the song that made him, he will be even better again.
Matt Corby played the Metro Tue Jun 13.