Concert Reviews

Mat Kearney with Parachute and Judah & the Lion at Phoenix Concert Theatre

I read somewhere Mat Kearney said he wanted to write something that will rip your heart out and connect with his fans. Just like his songs, Kearney live shows are no different. His show at the Phoenix Concert Theatre turned out be an intimate affair for everyone in attendance.

It took three years for the singer-songwriter to return to our city. He describes it like a sailor that has been away for too long. Now on his second leg of his Just Kids tour, Kearney is glad to be back and is ready to warm us up with some southern hospitality.

The Phoenix atmosphere was warm and welcoming.  Everyone was anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Eugene native. Judah and the Lion’s Nashville beats and Parachute’s charming ballads blessed those who arrived early.  Putting on authentically passionate performances, both bands proved to be great choices for supporting acts on this tour.

To start off the show, Kearney played “Heartbreak Dreamer” from his new album, Just Kids – it was the right tune to get the crowd moving their feet.  Kearney captivated Toronto with his unique blend of rock, pop and hip hop.  His set was a collection of fan favourites from all of his albums including “Nothing Left to Lose”, “Hey Mama” “One Black Sheep”, and “Ships in the Night”.  At one point, he brought out Judah and the Lion for a Tennessee style cover of “Uptown Funk” which made the show that much more engaging.

Kearney’s live performance showed him to be a deeply inspiring soul whose emotional songs hold universal appeal. His live band is equally inspiring. Hearing the instrumentals live made you discover the passion each song holds. There was a genuine connection between Kearney and his bandmates which was great to see up close.

Throughout the night, Kearney charmed the crowd by declaring his love for poutine, naming all the provinces to the tune of “New York to California”, and brought up Toronto’s greatest hit, Rob Ford.  Most of all, he wanted his fans to know he loves them and this city (Toronto was the only Canadian date on this tour). He vowed not to take three years to return.  We certainly hope so!

About author

Administrator by day, concert writer by night. When she isn’t writing reviews, Tashana often spends time exploring the city or is at home watching a good drama on television. You can check her out on Twitter @tbilley.