New York’s Moscot Eyewear designers gained some major metal cred this year with their ad campaign featuring some of metal’s big names. And last night (August 13), Moscot strengthened their bond with the genre by inviting Trivium frontman Matt Heafy to perform an intimate acoustic set in their NYC gallery. Space was limited for the show, which was benefiting Moscot’s Mobileyes Foundation, but Metal Insider’s Kodi and Zach had the honor of witnessing the performance. While Heafy and Trivium are no strangers to acoustic performances as of late, two components made the evening unique: first being that this wasn’t your typical metal setlist, and the second being the spoken word element.
With an acoustic guitar and a notebook filled with lyrics and talking points, Heafy set the mood of the night the second he opened with a cover of Depeche Mode’s “Sweetest Perfection.” He followed that by performing renditions of Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love,” Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt,” Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams” and Opeth’s “Harvest,” closing out the night with Trivium’s “Dying In My Arms” and “Built To Fall.” His renditions of “Sweetest Perfection” and “In Dreams” were our favorites of the night, though hearing Heafy pull out “Harvest” further established the similarities between Opeth and Trivium’s approach to writing chords, as well as Heafy’s love of the Gothenburg metal scene.
However, the strength of Trivium’s original material carried through surprisingly well with a lone acoustic guitar. It’s really a testament to Trivium’s ability to consistently write melodic, memorable material that “Built to Fall” and “Dying in Your Arms” didn’t sound monotonous without pounds of distortion. And Heafy is truly a blast to watch and listen to in this kind of situation; he’s got just the right mix of artistic wanderlust and self-deprecating humor that you forgive it when he misses a lyric or botches a chord, because hey, he’s just having fun up there. And we had a lot of fun right along with him. Furthermore, the night reminded us all how much power and emotion is captured in Heafy’s voice.
The second component that made the evening unique was the spoken word aspect. Taking a cue from Corey Taylor (with Heafy even admitting so), the Trivium frontman treated the night as an open forum, speaking in between songs and answering questions from the audience. Throughout the night, Heafy gave the crowd an intimate view into his life. Here are a few highlights:
- His love for food is well documented in his blog, but Heafy went as far as saying that in a similar way as Metallica is his musical inspiration, renowned chef Anthony Bourdain inspired him to learn more about food.
- When revealing how Dream Theater’s John Petrucci offered many tips and advice toward his playing while on the road, Heafy admitted that he almost cried when Petrucci (one of his idols) gave him one of his guitars.
- Before performing Roy Orbison’s “In Dreams,” Heafy shared that not only does he often perform karaoke with his wife, but that he only sings Orbison’s songs when he does.
- When explaining how he attempts to overcome his anxiety before performing, he shared that he’s really gotten into doing yoga (admitting that at first he was turned off when his wife took him to a class only to discover he was the only male in the room).
- He shared that visual art is a major inspiration for him, claiming directors like David Lynch and Christopher Nolan largely influenced In Waves.
- He emphasized that practice is key to becoming a great musician, explaining that his dad (who managed the band in its early days) made them have a sports mentality. Towards the end of the night, he emphasized that if you want to become a better musician, you must aim to become better than everyone else (including your idols).
- For the first time, Heafy revealed that he has been working on an extreme metal project (tentatively called Mrityu). Though it started off as a 90’s black metal inspired group, he explained that his friendship with Ishahn actually inspired him to broaden the project’s sound. He expects to release music next year with Nick Augusto of Trivium playing drums, though no touring is expected.
At the end of the night, Heafy said that if he does such a performance again (which he hopes to do), he’ll be less nervous and more prepared. Well, if his next acoustic gathering is anything like what we experienced last night, it’s definitely worth checking out.