Mays musically torpedoes Ale house

Matt Mays and el Torpedo brought their energetic rock to the Ale House last Wednesday night.
Matt Mays and el Torpedo brought their energetic rock to the Ale House last Wednesday night.

Concert Review: Matt Mays and el Torpedo @ Ale House, March 1

On Monday, the men of el Torpedo, guided by their fearless leader Matt Mays, were in Charlottetown where they won four East Coast Music Awards and played their hit “Cocaine Cowgirl” to close out the show. By Wednesday, Matt Mays and el Torpedo were at the Ale House, where they proved to everyone present exactly why each and every award they received was fully deserved.

The show opened with Brian Byrne, formerly of I Mother Earth, playing a set from his upcoming album, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and If It Rains, which will be released April 11. Byrne’s set showcased a side of his musical ability that was mostly hidden while he was part of I Mother Earth.

His rock edge has softened substantially, allowing for the emergence of Byrne’s folk sensibilities. Most of the songs he played were slow, with a strong country undertone—not what you might expect from a former hard-rocker, but not out of place either. Byrne seemed very comfortable holding an acoustic guitar and crooning into the mic.

To end his set, Byrne played the first single off his new album, “Far From Good.” It’s only received a little radio play, but it’s catchy enough that if you’ve heard it once, you’ll recognize the melody and chorus as soon as you hear it again.

After a brief interlude, Matt Mays and el Torpedo took the stage with a soundtrack of waves crashing on Nova Scotia’s Lawrencetown Beach in the background. Tim Baker sounded them off on his drum sticks and from the last tap, there was no looking back.

Matt Mays’ vocals were dead-on and the energy of el Torpedo was infectious. After the first song, Mays took a minute to say hi to the audience and tell a little story.

Apparently, while the band was driving from Charlottetown to Kingston, they stopped at a McDonald’s and met another touring celebrity: Chuck Norris. Matt has the autograph to prove it, which he proudly pulled out of his jacket pocket to show everyone, just in case there were any skeptics.

After that, it was all business. With every song, the suspense and anticipation mounted until it was palpable. When the unmistakable opening riffs for “Cocaine Cowgirl” were played, the tension was cut and a very enthused audience crowded forward, pulsing to every word that fell from Mays’ lips.

And after an extended version of their summer hit, which included a guitar solo from Jerett Murphy, the band said goodnight—but not for long. It only took about 30 seconds of the audience chanting, “We want more Mays!” to bring the man himself back on stage.

The first song of the encore was solo, slow, and very compelling evidence of the talent that lies within Mays. For the following song, el Torpedo joined Mays on stage for a very rousing rendition of their newest single “Time of My Life (Till I’m Dead),” which included some very energetic cowbell playing from keyboard player Rob Crowell.

Between the bell, the drums, and the guitars, the final song of the evening had everyone thirsty for more from the East Coast sensation.

No amount of cheering would bring them back out on stage for a second encore. Buy the CD, kids—the evidence that it’s worth $15 has just been proven. While a disc could never capture the energy of their live show, Matt Mays and el Torpedo are certainly deserving of a listen.

Their tour continues into Hamilton and then to Toronto and beyond, in promotion of their self-titled album. And if the screaming fans that stood and sat enthralled throughout their set on Wednesday night are any proof, Matt Mays and el Torpedo are reaching their fans very effectively.

While Mays may have sung that he “[Wishes he] could be in New York City tonight,” it’s a safe bet that the fans at the Ale House wanted the band to stay exactly where they were.

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