Show Review: Matthew Logan Vasquez, The Social, Orlando
Matthew Logan Vasquez is rock ‘n roll.
Best known as front man for Delta Spirit, Vasquez is out on the road playing with a blistering new band under the MLV banner. Somehow, they never hit my radar, so I didn’t know him as a member of Delta Spirit. To me he is an indie rocker with a penchant for writing blistering, relateable rock. His new music is a treat for ears which at are so often tortured by the cesspool of crap on commercial rock radio.
On Friday night Vasquez opened the show for his friends Shovels and Rope with a rousing set at a crowded Social in downtown Orlando. Shovels and Rope are a married couple who deliver a folksy indie rock sound that is always pleasant on the ears. Vasquez’s style is a little different and definitely a more scintillating aural experience. He opened the night by giving the full house a chance to experience hard-driving music with more of a rocking feel.
Vasquez took the tiny stage wearing perfectly appropriate blue Dickie’s coveralls. Appropriate because he’s a blue collar rocker, and a grounded, hard-working entertainer. He wasn’t more than 15 seconds into his rousing opener “Stand Up” before he started climbing on his monitors and he was in a constant state of motion throughout the set. It was forty minutes of straight-forward rock ‘n roll.
He’s got a distinctive gritty voice that fits his hard-driving music perfectly. On this night, I was most impressed by his guitar work. He’s a pure talent and creative as hell. In one quick interaction with the crowd during “Redfish,” he leisurely sipped some tequila with his right hand while playing a searing solo on the neck of his Gibson with his left hand.
Drummer Jud Johnson and bassist Brendan Bond offered the perfect accompaniment, and the threesome all had their shining moments. With their set-up as a trio, all three members played integral roles in the composition of each song and complemented each other well.
Throughout the night, Vasquez casually interacted with his band mates and with the Orlando crowd. It was as though we were all old friends, as he comfortably chatted with his new Florida friends after every song and was funny as hell while still displaying a grounded social conscience.
The setlist was quite diverse, but two of the highlights for me were tracks off of his excellent 2016 release Solicitor Returns. The second selection was a raucous rendition of “Personal,” a song he dedicated to alcohol, and the closer was a frenetic version of “Everything I Do Is Out,” which meandered into a filthy jam. Good stuff!
The highlight of the set was an extended version of Delta Spirit’s “Crippler King” that had the crowd singing along throughout as he deftly interspersed Elvis and Motorhead tidbits, truly a defining moment in a memorable night.
We had a chance to interview Matthew after the set and will have that published here shortly, so make sure you follow our social networks to assure you don’t miss a thing.
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