Review: Parachute and Matt Wertz @ Old National Center

Hailing from Nashville, TN, opener Matt Wertz has the dialect of a Southerner minus the accent. He’s a semi-solo act with his partner in crime jumping in with any necessary back up. Wertz provided a nice set that complimented Parachute’s style well. His acoustic driven, country-tinged songs were similar in romantic content, and although a little bit older, he had the girls in the room wrapped around his finger. Wertz’s live performance comes across as much more powerful than his recorded music, which was a pleasant surprise.

After a quick turnover, Parachute took the stage. Props to their lighting coordinator because one of the strongest aspects of their stage presence were two tall columns of bright, circular lamps on either side of the hanging banner with the band name. These provided the lighting power, but were complimented by softer, colored lights that reflected the colors and lighting of the album cover for Overnight, the band’s latest record. It was a very thoughtful touch, although for some the power of the bright white lamps was a little overpowering. There was definitely more than one person shielding their eyes when the first burst lit up the crowd.

One of Parachute’s strongest attributes is consistency. The vocals and band performed each song to the quality of the album recording. The signature black piano was in its usual position on the left. They gave the effort to make their instrumentation more intricate with an extremely talented, permanent saxophone player. Parachute chose to cover Ariana Grande’s “Problem” and inserted their own song “She (For Liz)” into the middle of the Grande song. It made for an awkward transition, made worse by the conflicting content of the two songs, but although the transition was strange it yielded a chance to highlight the saxophone player and gave way to a full band, mid-set, jam session that was energized and fun.

Singer, Will Anderson, told a humorous story about being rejected by a girl in high school after asking her to go see current opener, Matt Wertz. After revealing this connection between Parachute and Wertz, Anderson brought Wertz onstage to help him sing “Other Side.” Then Anderson took a moment to put on a mini-infomercial for a charity organization (called Mocha Club) Wertz had started. While I’m sure it’s for a great cause, it felt a lot like waiting for your Spotify ad to end before you can listen to that song you really wanted to hear.

The set list was a decent mix of new and old, although with their song catalogue expanding, some old favorites (“Ghost” for example) were cut in favor of songs from the new album. So it goes. One of the catchiest new songs, “Didn’t See It Coming” was a high point, despite the fact that Anderson insisted on doing the talking portion of the song live. That might be a personal peeve of mine, but something about it seems hokey. If the crowd minded, I couldn’t tell, and even if they did, he quickly made up for it by suggestively showing “a little skin” during the appropriate lyric from the song. Parachute ended their set with a tweaked version of “She Is Love” that older fans probably weren’t crazy about as it was very different from the original style of the song. At the end of the night, everyone seemed to go home satisfied, and I’m sure they’ll be back again.