By Brooklyn Bill
Matt Alber did a wonderful, short, free-except-for-tips, solo, acoustic set at Rockwood Music Hall on the Lower East Side last night. He went back and forth between piano and guitar on four songs from his album, Hide Nothing; two new songs; and two covers.
Matt started off with "Field-Trip Buddy" and also performed "Monarch," "End of the World," and "Rivers and Tides" from HN. He said he chose to set the video for EOTW in his barber's shop because it's a place for rejuvenation: You feel like a new man after you get your hair cut.
He dedicated a new song, "The River," to his boyfriend *sigh* of nine months, Phil, whom Matt said is selling his house in Iowa to move out to California, where Matt lives. His other new song was called, I believe, "Settling," and he sang that after talking about a bad date he once had.
Matt's two covers were of "High and Low" by Greg Laswell, whom Matt says he'd been listening to a lot on his iPod, and his favorite Elton John song, "Rocket Man," which Matt closed with. I bought Laswell's version of "High and Low" on iTunes before going to sleep late last night. I really dig it, and I'll be checking out more of his music in the days ahead.After the show, I met Russ and Mark, Matt's friends from Maryland, and then Matt himself. As you could maybe guess from the *sigh* above, I think Matt is adorable—those cheeks! that stubble!—and he comes across as such a sweetie onstage.
Russ asked me what I'd thought of the show, and I told him I had enjoyed it and that I was a big fan of Matt's music. Russ said he had to shake my hand with his left hand because he had a broken right arm. I didn't get the story behind the break, but Mark said Russ was refusing to wear his sling, which Mark was holding onto for him. *wags finger scoldingly at Russ*
When Matt came over, Russ introduced me and told him that I had "all of his albums." Ha! I shook Matt's (right) hand, and Russ joked about his album having gone gold. Matt tried to come up with a lesser metal to describe his sales, and I suggested pewter. There's just something inherently funny, I think, about the word pewter. Matt's album, of course, would be certified platinum if there were always a strong correlation between talent and sales volume.
Matt will be back in the city on July 5 to take part in "Play Me, I'm Yours," a charitable art project that involves putting pianos throughout the city, starting next week. He said he'll be playing the piano located at Lincoln Center's Hearst Plaza.
I had debated whether I should go to an 11 o'clock show on a "school night," and I'm so glad I did.