Matt Gresham at The Oxford Circus

Kate Young
21st Jul 2016

Matt Gresham is an artist who is known for his honest and soulful performance and Saturday night's gig was no exception. Making his Sydney debut at The Oxford Circus, the gig was an intimate conversation between artist and audience.

After warmly welcoming the audience, beanie clad Gresham suited up, armed with his guitar and prepared to blow the audience away. From the very first note sung, Gresham’s powerful vocals commanded attention and held you captivated to the very end.

Gresham’s energy and ecstasy was compelling to watch as he delivered every song with truth and conviction. The pure joy that he embodies when he plays radiates not only into the audience but also onto the world.

For the tour Gresham has teamed up with the very talented Luke Liang - I'm unsure how long the two have been playing together but it seems like forever. The connection between the two on stage is undeniable and unique. Not a lot was said between the two of them but then there was no need as there was this unspoken musical bridge that had them in sync and feeding off each other. Matt very graciously shared the spot light and at many times encouraged the audience to give the fellow artist credit for his talents.

A large number of the songs played during the set were from a new EP that’s in the works. There are definite reggae, funk and jazz inspired aspects to Gresham's songs, all while adding a unique rhythmic percussion element to his guitar playing.

Halfway through the set the vibe was turned on its head when Gresham broke into a hip-hop number that was co written with Brooklyn artist and activist Talib Kweli. Gresham even at times throughout the number abandoned the mic, and just let the raw intensity of lyrics flow through his form.

“Survive on Love” was a catchy little number singing the praises and the power of love. Touching and inspiring the crowd enough to have us all singing in chorus at the top of our lungs “we can survive on love."

Two covers came from opposite sides of musical spectrum. First up was Gresham’s take on Paul Simon's “Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes” - obviously a favourite song of his because of the smile that he wore was brighter then the diamonds he chanted about. The other cover was Drake’s “Hotline Bling” which is hands down my favourite version I have and will ever hear of this song. Stripped back, it’s a sexy jazzy number of a scorned lover.

Gresham closed out the set with two encore tracks "Small Voices," a no-holds-barred song with a vocal style that harmoniously balances between regret and determination, while "Ghost," the most recent release, is almost like a tranquil lullaby on ecstasy, combining electronic, indie and pop elements.

Matt Gresham may be only just beginning to find his feet in what I’m sure to him feels like a decade of drowning in the musically unknown. But never have I before experienced seeing a musician that is just so humble to play for people. His voice commands attention whether he’s belting at the top of his lungs, performing falsetto acrobats or punctuating a narrative with silence. Guy Sebastian was correct when he told Matt Gresham all those years ago on X Factor: "You will be an artist, you will record albums, you will write songs that people will buy and will love."

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