Matt Boroff and the Mirrors impressed an intimate audience at The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch.
The Austria-based American guitarist and singer, and his band played a set of superb musicianship deserving of a much larger audience.
The London live music scene is a strange one. There’s no doubt that it’s in rude health at the moment, with no shortage of gigs every night of the week. Everyone still wants to play London, and it’s not uncommon to see well-known overseas artists playing small venues usually reserved for burgeoning underground scene.
The Old Blue Last in Shoreditch is a prime example of such a venue. Hosting everybody from obscure indie bands to the likes of Kylie Minogue.
What is bizarre is, not particularly talented new acts that become the darlings of the hipster crowd can fill the venue, while quality artists fail to draw much of an audience beyond the support acts and their guest-list friends. Unfortunately, such was the case of Matt Boroff’s headline show on Monday night. Admittedly it was a Monday, but that seems a fairly feeble excuse for not going to see three quality bands for a fiver.
Five-piece Mono Club crammed their gear onto the tiny stage to open the evening with their brand of anglicised 70s’ West Coast sound. Great songs played well, with a good line in banter with the audience. Lara Smiles upped the tempo with funk-tinged blues and guitar licks.
Compared to the arrive, plug-in and play (if all the pedal leads work) of the local supports, New Jersey-born Austrian resident Matt Boroff and his band The Mirrors, were well kitted out, including their own lighting and mixing desk. And they proceeded to put on an impressive show of great songs with consummate musicianship.
There was a darkness to the songs and Matt’s vocals that are reminiscent of Nick Cave, but the driving drum beat and the soaring dual lead guitars elevated the performance towards proper grown-up rock verging towards metal, as witnessed on My Black Heart. Thankfully, there was none of the posturing that that particular genre is known for, and the songs were filled with emotion and intelligent commentary on the state of the world.
Having supported bands such as QOTSA and BRMC, it was a real shame to see an artist of that calibre playing to crowd that small, no matter how enthusiastic. Hopefully this won’t deter him from returning to the UK to find the audience he deserves. Festival bookers, take note.