Matt Costa, Thom Stone

Kerry Meech 02/10/2006

Tonight Cardiff's summer officially ended, drawn to a close by the arrival of Jack Johnson's 23 year old protégé, Matt Costa.

Costa's biography stands as a testament to the weird, yet wonderful mechanics of the music business. Having spent 18 months recovering from a broken leg Costa's dreams of becoming a full-time pro-skater were dashed; luckily for him though this led to the recording of a demo which eventually found itself in the hands of Mr BBQ music himself, Jack Johnson. And the rest, as they say, is history.

It is apparent from his set that Costa has an ear for pop sensibilities which, twinned with his West-Coast sound, radiates warmth and resurfaces those much-missed memories from summers gone by. However, throughout the night you couldn't help thinking that his Johnson endorsement has created an illusion of brilliance which unfortunately he fails to live up to. Perhaps a few more years roughing it on the club circuit would have benefited him, providing him with some much needed stage presence.

This is not to say that his set was entirely void of personality. Tracks such as 'Astair' and 'Sunshine' offered a glimpse of his potential, and provided the audience with bursts of originality which were undoubtedly missing from the ironically-named Thom Stone, who earlier in the evening had showcased his brand of song writing. This relied heavily on borrowing the look of The Kooks, the accent and lyrical content of The Libertines, and weirdly, the 'Walk The Line' riff of Johnny Cash. Needless to say, it didn't work, but Costa's performance did act as a consolation, albeit a very small one.