Mat Kearney at The Black Sheep 2/9: Review

I’ve been thinking about how to write this review for a few days now. I don’t want this to come off biased, as I try to be honest and accurate with how I review shows, but I just can’t help it with this one: Mat Kearney’s concert on Thursday night at The Black Sheep was easily, hands down, one of the best shows I’ve seen in the past two years (and I’ve seen a lot of shows)! Playing to a sold out crowd this past Thursday night, Mat Kearney and Robert Francis wowed the audience with a night full of beautiful music, front to end.

Thursday night began with Robert Francis taking stage as the long line down the street was still filing into the building. His singer-songwriter style was beautifully complimented by his rich, layered voice and alluring range. The three-man group fronted by Francis had an upbeat, pop/rock sound that is something anyone can listen to. Francis played tracks off of his last record, “Before Nightfall”, as well as some tracks off of his new record called “Strangers In The First Place”, due out May 22nd. I was pleased with their set and enjoyed the song “Junebug”, with it’s catchy chorus that got stuck in my head for a good point of the night.

As soon as Mat took stage, and began to hammer out the begging to “Fire and Rain”, I immediately knew I wouldn’t be disappointed, and was proven right as the second song of the set began to play: “Young and Dumb in Love”, my personal favorite from his new record. Playing a seemingly perfect mix of old favorites like “All I Need”, “Breathe In Breathe Out”, and of course “Undeniable” (which he sung/spoke that night in an interesting way), as well as a slew of new songs off of his “Young Love” record released last summer, there was something for everyone on his setlist that evening. Mat has had two different songs, “All I Need” and “Breathe In Breathe Out”, featured on ABC’s hit television show “Grey’s Anatomy” which helped his rise to fame in 2007. His new, highly anticipated album “Young Love” was released in August 2011, and this current tour in support of it seems to be nothing short of a success. He’s already topping the charts with the first two singles that have been released, and I hope this is only the beginning.

Thursday night’s show left me smiling from ear to ear. Mr. Kearney’s unique ability to warm up a room and immediately connect with the audience is a rare quality to find in performers these days. He kept the set fun with ease, even through the slower, more touching songs. His incredible songwriting skills shine through even more during a live set, as he  showed off his talent with freestyle rapping  a verse all about “Colorado Springs” in the middle of one of his songs. He somehow also managed to squeeze the refrains from Usher’s “DJ Got Us Fallin’ In Love” and “Super Bass” into the middle of “All I Have”. Ending his show with a three-song encore, and a beautiful explanation of the story behind the song “Rochester”, the whole crowd was dancing, clapping and moving through both “Ships in The Night”, and “Hey Mama”.

Robert and I got a chance to meet up with Mat before his show and chat with him backstage for a bit. Be sure to check out our pictures with him, and the great poster he gave Ultra5280!

Maddie