Matthew J Thomson The Ship, St. John's NL, April 24

Matthew J Thomson The Ship, St. John's NL, April 24
Photo: Vish Khanna
Thomson cut a shy figure at the Ship, surrounded by five other players who gave his indie folk a foundation. It's unusual for a live band to sound so custom-made for four-track home recording, but so much of this set sounded spirited, rickety and accomplished. Thomson sings tragic love songs — "Stab me in the heart...again" he moaned at one point — with an offhand dedication. Maybe he has an office job somewhere and they don't treat him all that well.

He has this hangdog weekend warrior thing happening, and yet his bashful reserve is bolstered by organ parts and clumsily charming handclaps. At one point, banjos and acoustic guitars were replaced by Mustangs and Telecasters and, out of nowhere, the band sounded like Dinosaur Jr. What was happening? I don't know, but let's all root for the nerd-folk-rock of Matthew J. Thomson. He deserves a break today and it'd be nice if he didn't set the building on fire.

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