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A Night of Live Music at Tin Angel with Matt Duke
There is a cardinal rule, according to IMR’s editor Victor Alfieri, not to ever write a review in the first person. I’m going to break that rule! Why? Because sometimes a concert is about the experience that a person had and this time it’s MY experience.
Recently I made a last minute decision to go see a show at the Tin Angel in Philadelphia. Any show at the Tin Angel is probably one worth seeing. It has a great atmosphere and is a true listening room. Downstairs the restaurant, Sorrano, is a quaint little place with murals painted on the walls. Upstairs is the venue with reserved tables up front for dine-in guests and bar stools on the wall for other concertgoers. One of my favorite nationally touring indie artists (who happens to be from a couple towns over from mine) named Matt Duke was playing along with his label mate Riley Etheridge Jr. and a female artist named Stephie Coplan.
Stephie opened the show with her humorous lyrical style. Her songs are stories with direct lyrics. Personally, I enjoyed her style and personality. Of course, for me at least, she’s destined to be one of those artists who you like (not love) live but would probably never listen to the album.
Up next was Riley Etheridge Jr. My experience with him previously was while interning at Rock Ridge Music. I assisted in finding blogs, such as IMR, to submit his music to for review. Finally getting to meet him and see a live show made some of the work I did feel a little more meaningful. Previously I had only been able to listen to enough of the album to get a feel for what sites I should target. The live show was a great treat.
Only a couple weeks before, Riley had played the same venue with a full band. This time he chose to dawn the stage solo, just his guitar, a harmonica, and his voice. Let me explain, Tin Angel is absolutely perfect for these kinds of shows. The room cultivates an attentive, quiet audience and the sound is superb. Riley told stories and connected with the audience in a way that can only happen in intimate venues like Tin Angel. His performance allowed me to connect with his music in a way I previously hadn’t.
The night ended with Matt Duke, a singer-songwriter with a powerful and passionate voice. Listening to Matt sing is like being in heaven. Every time I hear his voice I fall into a trance. Earlier in the year I saw him play during Rock Ridge Music’s Hotel Carolina – Philly festival. In my review of that show I mentioned he had a rock quality that you wouldn’t expect from his voice. Of course during that performance he was backed by a full band. During this acoustic set at Tin Angel I was overwhelmed by the power in his vocals. It’s sensual, mesmerizing, and stunning.
Of course Matt Duke isn’t only a great musician, his personality always leaves room for several audience chuckles. He put the entire audience at ease and really made the room feel like a family. We were privileged enough to hear several new tracks that Matt has never previously recorded before as well as old favorites.
At the beginning of the night I had thought I would go home and work on other articles. In the end I had an amazing evening. For the first time in months I felt genuinely connected to the music and the fans. It served as a great reminder of why I love this industry. The Tin Angel can create magic; and when you have artists such as Stephie Coplan, Riley Etheridge, and Matt Duke your night is bound to exceed expectations.
Location: Mt. Laurel, NJ
Band Members: Matt Duke
Label: Rock Ridge Music
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