CONCERT REVIEW: Local The Voice Hopeful Matt McAndrew at World Cafe Live

Photo by Susan Rostron

Matt McAndrew at World Café Live | Photo by Susan Rostron

It’s an unseasonably warm Wednesday in October and I’m on my way to see a golden-throated, moppy-haired, tattoo-covered 23-year-old perform an acoustic set at World Café Live. It’s a long way from the typical heavy metal show that I usually attend. How did this happen?

I got sucked in to NBC’s The Voice, thats how. I am a huge fan of the musical talent show that overflows with so much positive energy, it makes Pat Croce look like the old man from Up. Like last year, this season’s show features some gifted contestants from our corner of the bar—Danica Shirey and Matt McAndrew—the latter of which I am here to see.

He takes the stage with his acoustic decorated with the western flower-patterned pick guard, accompanied by Anthony DiCarlo playing a black-on-black telecaster. Before easing into his first song he announces that he is a little sick so his voice might not sound as good. It doesn’t seem to matter because his voice still sounds effortlessly sweet.

I have never heard his original material before tonight, and after a song or two, it begins to make sense why the room is mostly filled with girls in their early 20s. The hair. The tattoos. The simple, clever love songs. And that easy voice. It all adds up to an intriguing image, which comes across completely authentic and accessible.

Its easy to tell who in the crowd are old friends and who are here because of The Voice. He calls out for requests and most of the responses are for songs already performed on the show. The crowd urges for Coldplay’s “Yellow,” which he sang with Ethan Butler in the battle round. During his version of “Yellow” at World Café Live, it dawns on me that his original songs are interesting, but don’t showcase his full range as much as these covers.

After less than an hour the sickness seemed to get the better of him and he had to end the set. I could have listened to him sing for much longer. I could have also watched DiCarlo play guitar for hours.

Getting to see him play live only further solidifies my Voice fandom. As I was leaving I was wondering if the fact that he is playing a show back in Philly is some sort of spoiler alert. When did they finish taping? When do the live shows start? Are they on break so they could edit and air the earlier rounds? Either way, you can be sure we’ll be watching for his knockout round on Monday night and hoping he can get to the live playoffs.