Before taking the stage at Songbyrd, Mattiel Brown was soft spoken, warm, and happy to talk about her latest music video where she fully embraced her role as a goateed creep. Accustomed to creative control over her visuals — which included a Songbyrd-exclusive poster — she led the way through the lesser-seen basement back hallways to find the right spot for a pre-show portrait (the liquor closet).
Mattiel’s on-stage persona was pure rock’n’roll, including a trembling howl reminiscent of Grace Slick. She flashed a barely threatening wild stare as she sang over a spare fuzz guitar riff on “Whites of Their Eyes,” as if Nancy Sinatra was backed by the Black Keys on “Bang Bang.” Her eponymous band provided a nostalgic rock sound drawing on 60’s pop and blues rock elements with a slight southern twang picked up in her rural Georgia hometown.
On “Keep The Change” she sang: “And it’s the expectation, making or breaking, giving me a heart attack / And in 20 years time will it all be mine / Or will I wish that I could take it all back?” With a new record Satis Factory due out June 14 on ATO Records—just before she heads out for a European tour—it’s worth catching Mattiel on what is clearly an upward swing that she, and her audiences, will not regret.
DC-area local Cat Janice opened the show with a stripped down acoustic set.