Matt Andersen at the Real Music Club

Big Canadian blues riffs and old time soul vocals from Matt Anderson raise the roof and the temperature in Belfast's Errigle Inn at the Real Music Club.

As our Indian summer continues we find ourselves in a warm stuffy Errigle Inn for the return of Canadian guitarist Matt Andersen.

The big man opens the show with ‘Make you Stay’ followed quickly by ‘I Lost My Way’, the title track from his new album ‘Weightless’. Those of you who have heard the new album will know it’s a big a record featuring big brass, some fine guitar playing by Paul Rigby and lots of Hammond Organ.

Forget all that tonight though. Matt gets on stage and fills the room with his voice “I don’t want direction, I don’t need a map” and the audience sits up and takes notice. The show isn’t all about Matt belting out songs with his booming voice though. ‘Coal Mining Blues’ shows his subtler side. Taken from 2012’s album of the same name it is a sorrowful tale of backbreaking mine work and the toll it takes of the health of the miner in the song. “Got the roar of a lion, the breath of a mouse”. The lyrics are powerful and sorrowful as Matt delivers them with them all the power and the passion of an old time evangelist.

Introducing ‘Round and Round’ Matt tells us that this is the happiest guitar riff he’s ever written. Launching into the song he promptly breaks a string and tells us not to worry. His record for broken strings in one show is eighteen which prompts a playful shout from the audience of “you’re not trying hard enough”. String promptly changed Matt leads the audience into the now familiar sing along on the chorus.

‘Devil’s Bride’ is an old favourite and Matt explains his inspiration for the song was two regulars in an old bar he frequented who drank the same drinks and fought the same fight every week. Matt delivers the opening lines with powerful venom “you pour me water when I’m drowning / You take my kindling when I’m cold”. This is classic old school blues delivered a big repetitive riff and a blinding guitar solo that brought cheers of approval from assembled faithful.

Ending the night with a “little romantic number to finish” he starts into a cover version of Springsteen’s ‘I’m on Fire’ much to the audience’s approval. Matt leaves the stage after delivering a powerful night’s entertainment and as he does we can’t help but look again to see if the roof of the Errigle Inn is still in place such was the power of tonight’s performance.