Not too often do you find a great band featuring members that are 21 and younger, but that’s exactly what you’ll find in the Matching Shoe, a St. Louis-based group delivering a groovy blend of classic rock, folk and blues.
The band consists of Dillon Wilfong on guitar and lead vocals, Dominic Anzalone on drums and percussion, Ben Vennard on keyboards and upright bass, and Lia Spanos on guitar and electric bass.
Anzalone and Wilfong met in 2010 at Camp Jam, a local music camp directed by preeminent rock guitarist Jimmy Griffin, of El Monstero and Celebration Day, among other bands, who remains a friend of the band members and has even been known to sit in with the young group for a few songs.
In January 2017, Anzalone needed someone to fill a gig with him, so he called Wilfong. “Our schedules were so busy that we didn’t have time to really practice, but we came up with a set list, and when it was gig time, it went great,” Anzalone explains. “You would’ve thought that we played together regularly. … The day of the gig, Dillon called me about a couple hours before and asked if he could bring his friend Ben to sit in on a few songs — he ended up playing the whole show. It felt right, and people were complimenting us like we had been together for years.”
One thing led to another, and the Matching Shoe was formed. Although each member credits many artists as a source of inspiration, the Beatles have had a major influence on the band. “They were one of the greatest bands in all of history,” Anzalone says.
The band never attempts to directly emulate the style of the Beatles when writing songs, however. “It’s an entirely unconscious thing,” Wilfong says. “Usually, the only guideline in the songwriting process is whether we like the music we’re making, so naturally what we think sounds good is heavily influenced by the music we listen to on our own.”
In addition to playing locally, the Matching Shoe was selected to perform on the main stage at the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show — the world’s largest trade-only event for the music industry — this past January in Anaheim, California. Over 1,000 bands applied and 140 were chosen to play various stages with only 12 landing the main stage. The band also has a studio EP called “Don’t Hide It, Divide It,” and they hope to have a full-length album out this summer.
When I saw them, I was blown away by how tight and together they sounded, as if they’d been performing together for decades. In addition to their well-delivered original tunes, they have awesome taste in covers too, performing songs by the Grateful Dead, the Beatles, the Band, the Doors and so many more classic artists.
Want to see this budding band of stellar musicians in action? They’ll be at the Naked Vine in Chesterfield from 8-11 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, and Saturday, May 26. For more information, visit thematchingshoe.com or find them on Facebook. M