Matthew Lee at The Cellars

Matthew Lee
Matthew Lee
Paradise Lost. Picture: Danny Payne

REVIEW: Paradise Lost at Wedgewood Rooms, Southsea

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THE ebullient Matthew Lee trained as a classical pianist. Thank heaven, he sold his soul to rock ‘n’ roll.

It was apposite then that he belted into Roll Over Beethoven to start his gig at The Cellars. The old fella might not perhaps have been wholly in tune with the musical genre, but as sure as eggs is eggs he would have appreciated the virtuosity of this hugely-talented performer.

Lee pounds his keyboard, then caresses it. He makes his music with mesmerising movement of hand as well as elbow, backside, and edge of Cuban-heeled boot.

He plays with his hands behind his back and, laying curled under the keyboard, with one arm stretched onto a playing surface he cannot see. In all instances, the sound is compelling as he puts his own touch to classics such as Wild One, Proud Mary and High School Confidential as well as songs from his native Italy (don’t let the name confuse you).

After his Portsmouth gig – in which he was seamlessly backed by local musicians James Birt (drums) and Chris Swan (bass) – he jetted off to his homeland to continue his tour (and how many acts can say Cellars today, Sicily tomorrow?). Lee let his voice do the singing and his fingers do the talking and left his audience spellbound and eager for more.

He’s due back at this Eastney venue on a date to be fixed in mid-June. My advice is book early.