Photo: Todd O'Dowd, Varsity Theater
Matthew Sweet @ Varsity Theater
September 18th, 2012
Matthew Sweet’s Girlfriend is finally 21-years-old. Yes, you read that right. But when I say girlfriend, I mean the classic 1991 record that put the 47-year-old Sweet on the Alternative Rock map. Tuesday night’s show at The Varsity Theater was a celebration of the Girlfriend record, with Sweet and his band playing the entire record, all 15 tracks of it, front to back.
The set list, as you can imagine, was ripped directly from the LP. Among the highlights early on in the show were the surprise guest guitarist Richard Lloyd, who played guitar on many of Girlfriend’s studio recordings and joined the band to perform “Evangeline,” and the album’s title track, which prompted those in attendance to shout along with the lyrics.
“That’s the end of side one,” said Sweet at one point, who, as a nod to the understandably older crowd, introduced side two by musing over his feelings of nostalgia “for vinyl in the 90s.” Sweet and his band played through to the end of the record, including the “three extra songs that come on after like, 90 seconds of silence or whatever,” and closed out the show with songs from the record 100% Fun, including the massive, crowd-pleasing “Sick of Myself.”
While the 90s vibe was alive and well in the sights and sounds that filled The Varsity, the encore brought fans a taste of the most recent release from Matthew Sweet in the form of “She Walks the Night” from 2011’s Modern Art. After a 20th anniversary tour that has lasted over a year, Sweet and his band have only a few more dates with Girlfriend before the inevitable, awkward moment when it’s time to take a break. Thankfully, Matthew Sweet fans will be able to appreciate a little Modern Art after a bittersweet, nostalgic trip down memory lane.
Written by Noel Clark, Radio K volunteer