The Matt Gilmour Band, The Cuckoos

The Matt Gilmour Band

The Cuckoos

Fri 8.16.19

Doors: 7:30 pm / Show: 9:00 pm

$10/$12

This event is 21 and over

The Matt Gilmour Band
The Matt Gilmour Band
For a long time, singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Matt Gilmour didn’t take life very seriously. He didn’t have to. He was in love, young and healthy, and music was in his genes. However, a series of painful and transformative events found him heartbroken, fighting for his life, and facing some serious realizations.

“After I was diagnosed with cancer, something in me changed,” Matt shares. “I was fed up with who I was, and I knew I needed to start many things in my life from scratch.”

Today, through brave introspection and hard work, Matt has emerged triumphant with his life reclaimed. The English-born, Austin, Texas-based artist is now making music on his own terms with his band of brothers in The Matt Gilmour Band. He’s forging his own legacy with a distinct cinematic psych-rock aesthetic and a ground-breaking live performance streaming series.

The Matt Gilmour Band is an interstellar vehicle that plays psychedelic rock with touches of prog, blues, indie, folk, and funk. The band is a collaborative effort under the banner of The Matt Gilmour Band. “There is no way I could do this without the guys. They’re amazing musicians and amazing friends,” Matt says. In addition to Matt, the band features A.J. Vincent on keys, and Mike Hidalgo on drums. The Matt Gilmour Band gigs regionally and nationally, often performing with dazzling light show accompaniment.

Matt was born and raised in England where he grew up watching his father—Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour—from the side of the stage as he captivated arena crowds. Eventually, Matt began to solidify his musical chops and forge his own path discovering his identity through traversing a myriad of musical influences. As a signature sound coalesced, and Matt’s talents shined through, he began to write compelling compositions. One track he posted online caught the ear of legendary producer/engineer and Steppenwolf guitarist Danny Johnson who invited Matt to Austin to record a solo album. That album, The Grey, snapshots Matt in an intimate bluesy folk setting.

His early time in Austin was humbling for Matt. He found himself a small fish in a big pond. Totally out on his own, he struggled to make a living. And the various bands he put together kept imploding.

Another trying time for Matt occurred when he was diagnosed with cancer at just 26, and he had to move back to England for chemo treatment. In a way, the whole experience galvanized Matt. Upon his full recovery, he returned to the US with a renewed sense of purpose. His clarity of mind showed in his lyrics which became less coded, his band lineups became steadier, and his personal musical vision became more unique.

The Matt Gilmour Band represents a culmination of these profound times of personal and artistic growth. Standouts in the band’s current body of work are “Dear” and “Push.” The track “Dear” patiently unfolds from an airy piano-driven ballad to a majestic rocker with soaring melodies, cathartic hooks, and a fleet-fingered bluesy guitar solo. The grandly ethereal “Push” boasts an imaginative arrangement that feels like a spiritual journey offering a rousing uplifting message. “That song is about those times when we think can’t go any further, and we want to stop or give up. During those times of doubt, I think about my past, and how far I’ve come, and I feel a second wind. I just push through” Matt says.

These tracks, and others, are produced and recorded in collective collaboration with producer, and close friend, Chris “Frenchie” Smith from Bubble Studios. Chris lives with Matt and some of the guys, and, together, they revel in an intuitive creative consciousness. The recordings are live-band-to-recording-device—with no Pro Tools editing—and favor groove and humanness over sterile quantized perfection.

Up next, The Matt Gilmour Band are concentrating on its innovative series of streaming performances, the band’s recorded output, and performing live regionally and nationally. At the moment, Matt says, the band is enjoying a wellspring of creativity. “It feels really like everything is taking off now. There is this wonderful unspoken energy and excitement that’s unqualifiable. I am looking so forward to the future,” he says.
The Cuckoos
The Cuckoos
“Youth is wasted on the young” is a famous quote often attributed to George Bernard Shaw, or Oscar Wilde. It’s a bitter old saying, combining a bit of cleverly worded elder wisdom with a large dose of grizzled envy. Researchers have traced the quote all the way back to a newspaper published in 1931: specifically, writer Ted Cook’s syndicated column, “Cook-Coos.” Which is damn funny, considering that in this century, neo-Psych Rock crew THE CUCKOOS are smashing that famous quote’s premise with jubilant glee.

This Austin, Texas based band isn’t wasting their youth, nor are they jettisoning the hallmarks of the greats who came before them. On the contrary, these four young men draw liberally from the deep well of vintage pop, heady psychedelic rock, sizzling hot funk, and even a bit of old-fashioned blues to create music that is at once classic yet forward thinking. Classic Rock Magazine rightly christened their psychedelic garage rock “spectacular,” declaring the band “hip young dudes who mine the late sixties acid rock scene for inspiration, but sound so authentic you’ll think you’re having a flashback.”

From Magical Mystery Tour to The Doors, from Velvet Underground to Jimi Hendrix, The Cuckoos roots run deep. Within the band’s swirling, trippy songs, there’s the magical alchemy of Pink Floyd, the stoic enigmatic melancholy of Joy Division, and the epic scope of Led Zeppelin. It’s all super-charged with the gritty energy of Nirvana at their most energetic. At times, one can almost feel the heat of Jimi Hendrix’s burning guitar, as the sonic vibes transport the audience to uncharted funky and jazzy dimensions. It’s all viewed through The Cuckoos young and constantly inspired lens, giving it a fresh feel.

Lead vocalist, songwriter, and keyboardist Kenneth Frost first taught himself piano to John Lennon’s “Imagine,” ignoring the recycled superficial fluff crowding up much of the modern music scene and diving headfirst into The Beatles instead. The sugary-sweet mop-top era of the band drew him in, ultimately leading the young songwriter on an evolution similar to that of the most famous lads of the British Invasion. His voice invokes the soulful baritone of Jim Morrison, with cutting edge modernity. Songs like “Run Away with Me” make magic with organ and guitar, with sinister dynamic energy.

Lead guitarist and backing vocalist David North began his journey with the sounds of later decades, soaking in the nineties punk song-craft of Green Day, then descending into the depths of vicious eighties thrash like Metallica and Megadeth. The blues came next, from Muddy Waters to Albert King, all coalescing into a young adult love for a diverse array of artists, including Smashing Pumpkins, The Pixies, and Nick Cave, as well as the psychedelic influences he shares with Frost. Together, North and Frost combine to make a brilliant chemistry, resulting in a continuously developing sound of their own.

The two are always making discoveries together, whether it’s a killer hook from a Steely Dan song, a rich groove from Vanilla Fudge, the exhaustive catalog of the legendary Prince, or any number of funky jams from Rick James, George Clinton, and Funkadelic.

“Once we started playing together, there are just certain moments in songs that strike a nerve in your core, which he and I really connect on…” explains Frost. North finishes his sentence as effortlessly as The Cuckoos make music together. “…Those moments we are able to really experience together and bring it onto our own plane,” the guitarist adds.

“We can just feel it when each of us locks into a certain groove.”

North introduced Frost to a pair of his longtime friends, powerhouse drummer Cole Koenning and bassist Eric Ross, whose personal transition from guitar player to bass player allowed The Cuckoos to evolve from their original three-piece incarnation (in which Frost hashed out basslines on the keys) to a more fully realized unit. Together, despite their young ages, the four of them are quickly amassing a body of work that’s truly awe-inspiring, bravely laying down a definitive pathway of their own choosing.

“New Sunrise” offers a great picture of the multiple textures The Cuckoos explore. It’s a bit of a breezy meditation on the post-party picture, the feeling of waking up after a long night of revelry to confront the bright open sky. Toward the end, there’s the heartbreak of a relationship gone wrong, and the promise that a “New Sunrise” brings.

“A Little Bit Funky” is exactly as described: a rock n’ roll song, to be sure, but with a tasteful amount of groove. It’s danceable, romantic, and joyous, like a Stevie Wonder song about new love, in stark contrast to the darker vibes The Cuckoos often conjure. A broken guitar pedal helps capture a moment of explosive intensity in the solo. North says that live, “It’s such an exciting song, I almost have to just let the tune play itself.”

The extended jam section in “Mind Breakthrough” offers a chance for discovery each time it’s rendered, with Ross and Koenning locking into trance-like steadiness that truly demonstrates their ability to maintain a strong foundation, even as a song threatens to destroy itself. Like the band itself, the song has continued to evolve. It boasts a bit of the spiritual shamanism of early Neil Young, in a hazy cloud of personal exploration.

Imagine The Doors, Joy Division, and Rick James writing songs with Tame Impala to begin to get the picture, but be aware, The Cuckoos are carving their own path, hungry to become more than the sum total of the music that has inspired them and to diligently add new elements that will inspire others. Art, after all, should be communal.

“We just want to make music that makes people feel good and feel bad,” Frost says. “We just want them to feel something, something that’s passionate and honest.”
Venue Information:
SOhO Restaurant and Music Club
1221 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA, 93101