Material: On one end of the spectrum, Matthew Campbell from City of Union plays music in such an aesthetically pleasing manner that it is deserving of a larger stage, like that of Lollapalooza. And on the other hand, perhaps the best environment for a Matthew Campbell song is in your living room, with a couple of friends dancing around, a six pack of beer and an acoustic guitar. His music is a kaleidoscope for the ear lobes. Twisting alternative rock and post-grunge into a new rendition, where music notes of all types are accepted. A place where original pop-rock songs can freely merge with hip-hop covers and vise versa.
Musicianship: Campbell’s musicality can be attributed to a plethora of music lessons he took as a child. But his greatest instruments are his ability to switch cadences vocally and the creative way in which he blends opposing genres of music so smoothly. Those are artistic qualities that cannot be taught. And that is why his songwriting capability separates him from most artists. “My goal as a musician is to write honest lyrics in my best attempt to say things that some people are afraid to say,” said Campbell.
Performance: City of Union managed to deliver an imaginative show, which put Campbell’s range as an artist on full display, without any special effects whatsoever—just an acoustic guitar. That was most impressive. On stage, the artist was composed, very relaxed, interactive and extremely likable.
Summary: The many facets of Campbell from City of Union are as plentiful as the blades on a swiss army knife. And every artist that he has been influenced by shows…as if they were shiny knife blades, sticking out and cutting through the barriers that once separated genres of music in the ‘90s and early 2000’s. He’s Matthew Campbell, a 22-year-old from Missouri, who grew up taking voice lessons, piano lessons and guitar lessons as a kid. But it wasn’t until he reinvented himself, as a young man living in Melbourne, Australia, that he later became known as City of Union. Call him a solo artist in the vein of Beck, and also a performer whose honest feel pulls on your heart strings, as if he were Eddie Vedder from Pearl Jam.
The Players: Matthew Campbell, vocals, piano.
Photo by Miguel Costa