Matt Costa is California cool

By Margaret Hartley

Long shaggy brown hair, a face covered in a scruffy beard, wearing a loose tee and some dark jeans, Matt Costa looks like your average southern California dude. It was hard to spot him out as the headliner artist among the male audience at the Casbah. He also had many similarities to the opener before him, Sam Outlaw, as they both leaned on the bar in the back far left corner of the venue. The confusion was cleared up when Costa appeared from the corner to climb on stage.

The difference between Costa and most other guys born and raised in Huntington Beach, Calif. is that Costa can make some incredible music. He taught himself to play guitar at age 12, listening to Nirvana records. A skateboarding accident at 19 forced him to skate less and play music more. Not only can Costa play the guitar but he is also skilled on the piano and plays many of his songs with the accompaniment of a harmonica hanging from his neck.

This was Matt Costa’s second time performing at the Casbah. He was there March 19 to promote his fourth full length album self-titled, “Matt Costa”. His interactions with the audience were brief and modest. Costa was recently in Glasgow, Scotland recording for his album with Tony Doogan and an ensemble of Scottish musicians.

The crowd at the Casbah was an interesting mix of dedicated fans and confused bar patrons. There was also a surprising amount of older adults in the audience. When I asked one woman standing near me how she knew about Matt Costa she replied, “I don’t,” and pointed to her husband. “He likes him, so I am here for him.” Many of the younger girls in the crowd spent most of the performance gazing into Costa’s eyes. They probably didn’t notice the simple wedding band on his left ring finger. Matt Costa has been married to Casey Costa since 2009. His wife was there alongside him on stage to sing back-up. Though she quickly found out when she tried to sing that her microphone didn’t work. She casually went along with it, singing as she would have, with no one actually being able to hear her. Audience members began getting rowdy when it was close to the last song of the night and Costa had yet to play the song he is most famously known for, “Mr. Pitiful.” Of course the song was saved for the end encore performance. Costa’s new album “Matt Costa,” has a lot of the same upbeat, joyful, tunes often speaking of love found on his past albums, with a stronger folk influence.

Costa will continue his album tour throughout the United States and be back in San Diego August 21 for a special performance at the University of Calif., San Diego Birch Aquarium Green Flash Concert Series.