From the first notes of “Weightless” to the slow-dying roar of the crowd as the last licks of “Devil’s Bride” squeal out, Matt Andersen’s newest release, Matt Andersen & The Mellotones Live at Olympic Hall is a rollicking, sizzling night captured and preserved at the famed and historic Halifax dance hall.
It’s a release to revel in. Between his thunderous, one-of-a-kind voice and hot guitar playing mashed up with his superbly talented friends, the ten-piece force of nature that is The Mellotones, Live at Olympic Hall makes for what Andersen calls “the most drastic thing I could do.
“I make an impact when I’m soloing by getting them with the quiet parts more than the loud parts,” he reflects. Having played thousands of live shows around the world, Live at Olympic Hall is a far cry from Matt Andersen’s usual “one guy, one guitar” captivating and commanding notoriety. “With a band, it’s the opposite.”
If you’re going to have a band, The Mellotones is the one to have. Fixtures of Halifax’s live music scene, the ten-piece features a smoking horn section, keys, drums, and then some.
“I felt like a rock star,” says Andersen, who himself holds two European Blues Awards, six Maple Blues Awards, a JUNO Award nomination, and more than 10 million views on YouTube.
One ingredient for a successful live album is a stirringly soulful singer with powerful songs. The second is a live band that rounds out the energy of sound. The third? The live audience.
And to no surprise, Andersen had one that was hot to trot.
“They were a really great crowd. To look out into the audience was pretty special from that stage. They sold the balcony, too, so there were two tiers of people.
“I don’t get to play shows with everyone standing up,” he continues. “I usually play soft-seater shows, so it was great to get on stage and have that kind of energy.”
So why a live album — with a full band — and why now?
Andersen wanted a snapshot fans could come back to again and again, much like he did as a kid with Eric Clapton Unplugged. “It’s a bit of a subconscious confirmation that it is real,” he says. “You can’t really fake it.
“A lot of people like to have that representation of what happened. Any time I play a show, people ask: ‘which album is most like your live show?’ They want to take home their experience.
“It’s a basic connection, to be part of that energy going on,” Andersen continues, noting that, for artists that don’t get a lot of radio play, live music is vital. “I just wish everyone could come to a live show. It’s the best way to hear music, for sure.”
Now with Matt Andersen & The Mellotones Live at Olympic Hall — available May 25, 2018 — they can.