Photos: Mat Keaney & Robert Francis @ House Of Blues, 2.25.2012
On Saturday night, Elliott and I went to the House of Blues for the sold out Mat Kearney & Robert Francis show. I hadn't seen Robert Francis since he opened for Noah and the Whale at the Casbah in 2009 and though Mat comes to town relatively frequently, I think the last time I caught him was on a KPRI summer cruise, also in '09. Mat released his third major label full length, Young Love, in August of 2011 and while his singles "Hey Mama" and "Ships In The Night"have gotten steady radio love, it is critical TV and ad placements that make his music so familiar and it is his consistent touring that makes him so loved by his always growing fanbase. I have to admit that over the years, I've only been a partial fan...I dig his voice and many of his songs, but I've never ever been into the white-guy-raps-with-a-guitar-thing. Fortunately at this show, it was kept to a minimum and I was bopping my head along to the sugary music along with the rest of the crowd.
As for Robert, I hear he's releasing a new record soon, so hopefully we'll get him back at the Casbah where he can be a tad rougher around the edges than he is for this polished crowd. There's not a lot of edge here, but this is definitely music I could play on a roadtrip with my parents and my 13 year old godsister and everyone would be okay with it. These aren't just sexy guys with guitars wooing the ladies with their songs (though it doesn't hurt that they're so good looking), but they woo the dudes in the crowd into thinking they're just bros singing between surf sessions and they're gonna grab a brewski with them after the show. Mat remains likable even during awkward moments, like when he engaged with the crowd. I didn't hear the first part of the exchange, but it evolved into him chatting with an audience member. "What do you play?" "Drums." "What kind of kit do you play?" "Pearl." Mat went on to insult that the guy played Pearl. Then to backpedal, said something like, 'No, I didn't mean it that way, you probably can't afford something better'. To apologize for that, he pulled the guy onstage to beat on a suitcase during an acoustic performance of "All I Have". The setlist is pictured above, though I will add that since it was the final night of the tour, Robert Francis and his band were invited out for the encore when they performed Adele's "Fire To The Rain" and added Tom Petty's "Learning To Fly" before closing with "Hey Mama". Click the jump for more photos.