Matt Corby at the Roundhouse

On the 15th March, Australian Singer/Songwriter Matt Corby took to the stage at the Roundhouse to a sold-out crowd. While his music is great and while performing, the crowd were utterly captured by his formidable talent, Corby’s stage presence was lacking somewhat. 

I’ve heard great things about Matt Corby. Listening to his music, watching his various music videos and it’s easy to understand why he managed to attract over 3,000 fans to London’s Roundhouse. He is a formidable talent, with an impressive vocal ability and technique which comes almost as a surprise to those unfamiliar with his work. Yet there was something missing during his performance on Tuesday, and that was presence.

Despite his great performance – and it was – anybody unfamiliar with Corby’s work would be forgiven for leaving the venue without knowing who this man was. Not once did Corby interact with the sold out crowd, not once did he introduce his songs and not once did he actually introduce himself and his fellow musicians, which is a crying shame given the great performance everybody put in.

Aside from the lack of stage persona and audience interaction, the gig itself was good. Corby’s music is, for me, fascinating. It’s simple enough and perfectly pleasant to listen to, but amongst that there were a few numbers which really stood out as the highlight of his set. Perhaps the most notable of those highlights were the numbers where it was just Corby singing on his own, without his backing band. Just his voice, and a loop pedal. Loop pedals are incredibly interesting devices, and are slowly becoming an instrument in their own right, so it’s a shame that it was only used in that respect once during the entire evening. I’d have liked to see more use made of it.

Corby’s live performances have the makings to be something great, of that I am sure. Last night, however, something didn’t quite click about Corby’s performance – no stage presence, and a set list that just didn’t seem to go anywhere. That’s not to say he wasn’t good: from a musical point of view he possesses a great talent which absolutely ought to be exposed more than it is. But in order for that to happen, Corby must work to develop a greater stage persona and personality. Audience interaction is the key ingredient to making that happen, and that was the single biggest thing missing from his performance. Until such a time as this stage presence develops, Corby will, for me, remain one of those artists whose recorded music tops his live performances.