Recording artist Matt Costa wows the crowd with his music
■ By Jim Vivanco / Contributed
Friday, July 27 was another typical day in Hemet with temperatures again reaching triple digits. But something special was happening at Derby’s Bar and Grill that evening.
Derby’s hosted Laguna Beach recording artist Matt Costa to a crowd of dedicated fans, first-time listeners, and visitors to the Rink Room venue on Costa’s final stop of his Santa Rosa Fangs Tour.
Costa’s style and persona were evident as he arrived in his vintage VW Vanagon tour bus. His graciousness and relaxed personality was evident throughout the evening and during his performance. Preceding Matt on stage were a musical mix of southern California artists.
Providing a musical welcome to guests into the bar was Hemet native Raztecalii Juanii. His reggae/cumbia rhythmic style and occasional Ska sounds provided for a fresh and lively intro to the evening.
As showtime arrived, the setting switched to the aptly named ‘Rink Room.” Taking the mic first was Temecula artist Jacob Simon of Service Interruption. Jacob’s edgy performance featured tunes covered from Bruce Springsteen, “Mr. State Trooper” and he excited the crowd with originals off his recent EP “Your Reflection,” setting the stage for a musical night to remember.
Up next on stage was featured artist and San Diego native Cody Lovaas. His acoustic performance was straightforward, upbeat, meaningful and passionate. Mixed in with songs from his singles releases were Cody’s personal thoughts of his music, life and influences. Included in the latter was a cover off a Ray LaMontange
classic and the recollections of a then 12 year old Lovaas’ admiration for the artist who would follow him onto the stage.
Matt Costa and his band arrived on stage almost unexpectedly, took their places and dove right into a mixture of material from his current studio album on Dangerbird Records and also reached back for material from his time on Brushfire Records. Costa performed six songs from “Santa Rosa Fangs,” including the title track and current single “Sharon.”
His soothing vocals and acoustic versatility while performing crowd favorites such as “Astair” and “Ophelia” were just as evident on rocking numbers like the aforementioned “Sharon.” He occasionally would leave the stage to get into the crowd with tambourine in hand to lead the audience in singing “Time Tricks,” even borrowing a young concert goer’s hat in the process!
Costa switched back and forth from various guitars, keyboards, trumpet, full band and playing alone with his 12-string acoustic. The ease with which he plays and converses with the audience was most evident as he mixed in stories and anecdotes of mermaids, favorite-tour shirts, rides up the coast, and skateboarding at The Wheelhouse as a teenager throughout his 80-minute set.
He even returned to the floor for the crowd pleasing sing-a-long, “Sunshine” atop a table, no less, before returning to the stage to serenade the audience and wish a goodnight with a parting “Lullaby.”
As the departing crowd exited the Rink Room they found Lovaas playing pool with friends, Simon hanging out, and Matt and band gracious and mellow, willing to sign a poster, have a picture taken, or simply chat about the evening while enjoying a drink.
Links to all of the artists, upcoming events at Derby’s, and additional photos from the evening are available on facebook event page and at www.derbyshemet.com and listings in The Valley Chronicle.