On January 27, Mahtay Cafe hosted a night of music they called, the “Wobble Gobble”. The night was both entertaining and original, to say the least, with acts ranging from soothing folk to screaming, distorted guitars.
Three local artists performed at the event: Matt Meagher, Anthony Sweet (plus Jon Lepp) and Majora. With such distinct styles, the only thing the three performers had in common was the quality of their songwriting.
Matt Meagher set that standard opening the show. His acoustic set was like flipping through his songwriting journal and his influences shined through on every song: “I’ve been listening to Neil Young. Everything from old country to modern rock and even some pop music.”
Matt also belongs to an electric band called the Pindles and he included some of their songs in his set. This was interesting to hear something so grungy and full of jazz chords with a solo acoustic musician.
Next was Anthony Sweet on guitar and vocals with Jon Lepp on mandolin and Brock alumnus Joe Mahoney on cajon. This was an interesting contrast to Matt’s songwriting which is a lot more human and a little rough around the edges, whereas Anthony’s songwriting is smooth and ethereal. His songs had distinct goal of trying to relax and envelope the audience and his Thom Yorke-esque voice reflected that.
This can be attributed to Sweet’s expertise in Reiki and meditation.
“[Reiki] comes out of the same place the music does, which is a place of calm, I think. A place of calm and quiet. The Reiki is more of a healing thing, I guess the music would be that too. A space where the listener as well as the individual that is doing the Reiki is brought into a space where they are just allowed to be,” said Sweet.
The Eastern-inspired mood of this set was very trippy and weird which put the audience in an interesting place for the fully electric set of Majora.
Majora consists of four members with full drum kit, electric bass, effect-rich electric guitar and electric ukulele. This was a refreshing instrument to hear and it helped fill out the high frequencies a bit more than a regular three-piece electric group.
“It’s a solid body, so it basically sounds like the upper register of a guitar,” said Laurel Minnes, behind the stage name, Majora. “So, we’ve got the bass, the guitar is covering the mid and then I’ve got the highs. We used to do it with just a straight electric/acoustic, it sounded a little too folky for what we’re going for.”
Sweet continued, “I found the surfboard Mahalo, it’s a little bit of a novelty instrument so it’s not made with with the well-craftedness of a serious guitar but the niche that is expanding now, people are looking more for electric use and tenor guitars and things like that that are tuned like uke’s so the craftsmanship is starting to bud and now you can find things that are made for the amount that I play it ‘cause as opposed just be this ‘Hey, isn’t this funny? Ha ha ha’ but it’s my main instrument so it takes a beating, but the whole range is covered that way. It’s got some balls.”
The guitar, ukulele and even the bass all had their moments of distortion, with feedback and the like, but what really shined through was, once again, the songwriting. Each song had personal, socially-conscious lyrics that fit synergistically with the bands back-up.
“I tried to get Majora to play a show with me maybe a couple months back … they’re so fun and just full of energy, so it would be sweet for them to join in on a show at some point”, said Lepp.
The evening of music was a great way to kick off the weekend and see some local talent.
-Luke Webster, Assistant Arts & Culture Editor