"Are you taking notes?” A handsome guy asks me of my incessant documentation. “Yep, it’s my job,” I reply, “who are you?” “I work with Matt.” Alright, you have my attention.
I’m talking to Danny Garcia, Matt Costa’s guitar player, stage left in the Cambridge Room as Everest wraps up their set. “We’re dangerous together,” he says of his friendship with Costa. I believe him.
Matt Costa is unpredictable. He enters the venue from the front door, leading his band up to the stage which appears to be set in the 1950s, or the 1860s, depending on how you look at it. The drummer looks so soda shoppe, I feel like ordering a chocolate malt from him. “Hello everyone,” Costa said upon approaching the mic. Something about him makes me feel like I’ve been working on the railroad. Also, I’m wearing plaid and I look like a roadie.
Sounds like: A modern day version of The Beatles, only he sings about brightly colored taxis as opposed to fluorescent submarines. If Paul McCartney and Bob Dylan had a love child, it would be him.
Looks like: “ ”
Costa and his band create what I imagine the soundtrack to the Gold Rush would have been, had the 49ers possessed recording equipment. The concert is basically a free for all - like a watered down version of Woodstock muddle - but everyone is clothed, and presumably showered. Band members come and go in the middle of songs to the point where I’m not completely sure who is a member of his band, and who just happens to be good enough at tambourine to play for thirty-two measures and return to the backstage area. Costa’s latest album, entitled Mobile Chateau, released this September, perfectly describes the show. Like a traveling band. “What are you drinking,” I ask Costa’s wife, offstage with cup in hand, as she switches between backup vocals and keyboard. “Jameson and ginger,” she coolly responds. So,1950s, Kentucky. That’s it.
Not only is he unpredictable, Costa is a bit hard to anticipate. He hopped in the crowd during uptempo yet crooked “Ballad of Miss Kate”. His set includes “Miss Magnolia”, “The Season”, and “Witchcraft”, the music video that could have been pulled off an American Bandstand episode.
“This song is about California,” Costa introduced, before singing “Sweet Thursday”. He’s a Huntington Beach native, a Southern California city near my hometown, and I’m a little more than half-positive he doesn’t really have that molasses drawl of an accent. I don’t.
If you’re not familiar with Costa, you may have heard his song, “Astair”, floating in the airwaves. It’s one of his most popular, and the reason why the crowd loved his acoustic performance of said song, where he stepped toward the audience to sing along with them.
I ask Danny (who has stepped off to the side of the stage to make way for Costa’s acoustic set) how the Dallas crowd compares to the rest of the tour. “It feels better,” he says, and comments on how well this particular House of Blues crowd is responding to the band. Comfortable onstage, Costa played a two-hour long set with a hefty encore. I guess that’s the way they do it in 1950.