“I’m in a Pirate mood” explains Matt Goud (aka Northcote) as he takes the mic to “debut these songs on the water“. Born and raised in the small-town of Saskatchewan in Canada, Goud has made it, along with his guitarist Stephen, to these shores to support Chuck Ragan on his European tour and to promote his own album ‘Northcote’ which came out in November 2013. Goud is a larger than life character who it seems has a boundless enthusiasm for life, a fact that is reflected in the positivity of his music. Funny and amiable in a way that only North American’s seem capable of you could well imagine him holding court in a dark bar long after closing time. Songs like ‘Find your own way’ or ‘A Thousand Night’ are truly feel good ditties that suggest Northcote could find the good in the devil himself. A truly gifted performer the most memorable moments are conjured when he interacts in a genuinely heartfelt and compassionate manner with the crowd. Regaling us with stories of ghosts of the previous owners haunting the vessel or encouraging us to “never lose sight of our dreams” – although some ill-founded comments suggesting he “often confuses Brighton and Bristol” do draw some amused boos. Ever the showman Goud seems to recognise when the time is right to floor the crowd with his best punch and unleashes the highlight of the night in the shape of ‘Worry’. A nod to the side of stage and Chuck (Ragan) and Joel enter the fray to accompany him on harmonica, double bass & baritone backing vocals. Their addition adds immense depth and brings to mind Tom Petty in its crisp country style. With a hint of a Canadian acoustic Bruce Springsteen Goud finishes up by imploring that: “May you be forever a fool”. We only hope he heeds his own words. Check out Northcote here. By Kevin McGough Photos by Will Fahy.