Emo godfather Jonah Matranga shot to cult status during the mid-late 90’s with his band Far and since then has carried on making music both as a solo artist and with various other bands and projects.

Tonight he returns to Newcastle where myself, and it seems many of the other punters in attendance, last time saw Jonah with his previous band, Gratitude, two years ago, give or take a week or two. This time he is touring his latest solo release ‘And’ with former Million Dead frontman, Frank Turner, co-headlining. Both artists seem to draw in the crowds, and it seems there is a good mix of people here who are aware of both artists through their current solo reincarnations along with their previous bands.

While last time was a much louder affair with Matranga playing with a full group, this time it is literally him and his guitar. And occasionally his ipod, to add some backing to the music, which doesn’t always seem totally necessary but does add a bit of depth which is sometimes missing from these types of shows. He plays an intimate set consisting of tracks from the new album. The new material is in keeping with Matranga’s work which is always sincere and personal and really suits this particular setting of one man bearing his soul armed with his guitar to help weave the tales.

While the subject matter is often personal and not necessarily ‘cheery’, the music is mellow and upbeat, adding again to this appeal of the acoustic based set. The standout tracks for me are the lead single, ‘So Long’ which gets a sing-a-long going, and ‘I Want You to Be My Witness’ and ‘Not About a Girl or a Place’. The latter two are the most upbeat and catchy songs from the album and seem to suit Matranga’s on stage presence of being honest, grateful and sincere when sharing his music in this setting.

At a guess I’d say I wasn’t alone in thoroughly enjoying the two songs played from his previous outing at this venue, ‘Drive’ and ‘This is the Part’, both of which are Gratitude numbers. Both songs get the best reaction of the night and sound superb although I do find myself missing the energy and passion of those songs as they were performed previously with a full band.

Matranga’s voice is one that is so perfect for the music he produces as he possesses the type of voice that is unique and recognisable but has a beautiful ‘realness’ to it in which you know when he really means what he is singing about.

Related Links:

Commenting On: Trillions, Newcastle, 18/9/2007 - Jonah Matranga

ie London, England

tick box before submitting comment

First Previous Next Last