Three soulful, acoustic, folk-punk acts captivated The Green Room this past Friday night with sweet, catchy, punk-inspired songs about growing up, moving, work and politics. Broken Glass Kids, a duo from Toronto, opened the night with Matt Pless from New York following. The night culminated in a set full of shouting about the government with The Ghostwrite, straight out of Pittsburgh.
Broken Glass Kids’ set began with Sam Pike on banjo and Caela Butt on guitar, both of them singing their hearts out. One of the first things that jump out from their performances is the heartfelt lyrics. They cover central themes of Canada, with references to camping, nature, friendship and leaving.
To sell their beautiful lyrics, the two have worked out fascinating vocal melodies that bridge the gap between punk and folk into something more interesting altogether. Coupled with their simple and often fast-paced guitar and banjo work, their show is down-to-earth, creative and sweet. They are currently recording their first full-length album.
Matt Pless played a spectacular set full of sporadic stage presence and strong lyrics. On some of his songs, he just spits what seems like a novel’s worth of intelligent, rhyming political discourse at the crowd who hang on to every carefully crafted phrase.
His songs range in speed, but he truly excels with the ultra fast, hardcore punk, as well as slowed down and mellow tracks that are self-reflective and profound. His guitar playing is also excellent and his songwriting is clearly superb.
“I wrote my first songs when I was in third grade,” Pless explained. “I got into punk rock and then everyone was like ‘you’re good at lyrics’. Later, I got into Bob Dylan’s lyricism. The punk and folk influence kind of came together after that, and I started to make that kind of music.”
Since 2011/12, Pless has been on the road non-stop, playing all across America; this show was his first Canadian appearance. He also has a new album that he is working on and is going to start recording when he gets back to Baltimore. The album will be “back to basics”, with half of it acoustic and the other half full band.
To conclude the night, the Ghostwrite (A.K.A. Robby Lester) played a passionate acoustic set full of love and community spirit. He got the whole crowd involved singing “Donald [Trump] is a douchebag!” at the top of our lungs and belted out touching, nostalgic lyrics about his life, travels and politics.
His music felt warm, and his lyrics are influenced and inspired by relationships and friendship, and so are sometimes very dark and introspective. He spent the evening connecting with every member of the audience and kicking, and screaming, with an acoustic guitar in hand.
The Ghostwrite just put out an eight-song release in October that took him about two months and recorded it in Baltimore.