Photos by Ebet Roberts
Making a quick stop on his way up to the Newport Folk Festival, Matt the Electrician treated a select group of New Yorkers to an adventure which included his wonderfully quirky songs and his funny low-key patter. How can a man who thinks far out of the box still connect so perfectly with the rest of us? It’s like being hugged from behind—unexpected, yet no less personal.
With a few solo turns, the singer-songwriter (real name Matt Sever), accompanied by a pair of vocalists, played a diverse selection of his honest, sometimes wistful songs interspersed with his more off-the-beaten-track numbers. Many songwriters extol their home towns, but this man’s songs are about connecting and homesickness, like “Osaka in the Rain,” where he longs to crawl into a Japanese UPS van “just so I won’t feel so alone.” After one particularly beautiful number, I heard a latecomer whisper , “Whose song is that?” They’re pure Matt the Electrician.
Between the songs, Matt the Electrician may talk. It sounds like he’s just musing about recent events in his life, and maybe he is—I’ve seen several shows and never heard the same thing twice. This night—among other things—Sever spoke of his pants length, and why he had kept rolling them up, bit by bit. I would not be surprised to hear a song, “Short Pants,” or similar, on the next album.
Matt Sever writes about many things, including bacon, suitcases, foreign lands, and love, and if there’s anyone out there who isn’t amused and touched by this performer, maybe they just haven’t yet encountered bacon, or suitcases, or love. They should go see Matt the Electrician, he’ll wire you up right.