Written by James Killen
It has been way too long since I last caught Matt (Sever) the Electrician. I picked up from Facebook that he would be performing in town at Burlinghall House Concerts. This was a new house concert series for me and I messaged the hostess, Ada, to reserve a seat.
The cozy home of Ada and Erik is on the near Southwest side of town and is a pretty easy trip from anywhere near the loop. The hosts have setup their living room for 30 to 40 guests and a scrumptious buffet was available for guests. I had already eaten and will know better than to do that next time I visit. Ada and Erik are most gracious hosts and I felt very welcome.
As show time approached, Matt pushed the chair back to the wall so that he could perform this evening, while standing. Matt, if you have never heard him is an extremely prolific songwriter with a unique perspective of the world that he expresses freely in his lyrics. His rhyming patterns, timing, and choice of words are certain to bring a smile. He is a laid back master of tone and rhythm.
Matt started with the title track of “Accidental Thief”, gently rocking his guitar across his midsection to get different tones from it. He followed up with “I Will Do the Breathing” from the same disc. He shared a few new and/or unrecorded songs like “We Love You John Elliott” which came with a complete story explaining the origin of the song. Those are the moments that make a house concert special, as the artist is up close and personal in a way that just isn’t possible from up on a stage with lights in his eyes.
The last project that Matt finished was a series of six 45 RPM 2 song records, (which are also available compiled on a cd called “The Doubles”) and he shared one of those compositions, “Never Had a Gun”. Then came an oldie but a goodie, “Valedictorian” about a graduation speech made in the nude. Then came “I’ve Got Your Back” featuring some of Matt’s signature whistling. He finished off the first set with “College” about how he never finished and doesn’t miss the degree.
The second set featured another new song early called “I Keep My Angels Chasing After Me” followed by his song of growing used to being grown up called, “Change the Subject”. Next was one of his most beautiful examples of his mastery of tone, “In Osaka In the Rain”. Matt then performed a trio of songs from the 45’s, “Family of Stars”, “The Bear” and “California”. The show closed out with Matt performing his letter to Walmart, “For Angela” and an encore of Michael Penn’s 1990’s hit, “No Myth”.
Well I felt quite satisfied that I had gotten my MtE fix and a fine show in a fine location. Ada and Erik have quite a schedule coming up for 2018 with someone playing almost every month. Next to perform will be Susan Gibson, coming up March 17th. If you are interested check out the Burlinghall House Concerts page on Facebook. You are certain to have a warm welcome for a cozy show.