Matthew Carlson and Friends at the Robin Theatre in Lansing

by | Jun 9, 2024 | Music

Matthew Carlson kicks off his solo tour, bringing his earnest and energetic music to the Robin Theatre with special guests Teutonosaur and Deer & Elk.

Matthew Carlson at the Robin Theatre in Lansing

Matthew Carlson at the Robin Theatre

It is a fun story about how I heard about Matthew Carlson. It is almost like a Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon connection. I wonder if Kevin Bacon is really on this web somehow (probably)? We started the Life In Michigan newsletter (aka Sunday Sip) on Substack last year. While searching for other writers on Substack who lean into music, I found On Repeat by Kevin Alexander, where he has all sorts of reflections on music, both new and old. I can’t find the particular post, but Kevin either mentioned or shared another substack called What Am I Making which is one of the creative endeavors by Matthew Carlson (aka Matty C). 

Reading Matthew’s thoughts on music and, in particular, jumping into doing his creative work full-time was compelling. Here was an artist going all in on doing what they loved full-time. When I read he was going on tour and would be at the Robin Theatre in Lansing; I bought tickets without ever listening to him. I figured this guy was going for it, so why not support him? Little did I know that the six degrees of Kevin Bacon would come into play again as the show began.

Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon

I did check out a bit of Matthew’s music just before going to the show. He is a very prolific musician, having been a member of several groups, including The Stick Arounds, Harborcoat, Royal Scene, and The Pantones. All of this covers a wide swath of indie rock, with tones touching adjacent genes of Americana, power-pop, and punk.

You may wonder what this has to do with Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. Well, tonight’s show included members of Matthew’s other musical endeavors either as opening acts or joining him during his set. I also knew a few folks in the audience, including the talented Lansing photographer Jena Hovey and her dashing husband, Josh. I also said hello to Jenny Toms and Nicholas Merz from the ridiculously awesome A Rueful Noise. As you can see, the connective web of Michigan music was strong tonight.

Dylan Rogers Owner of the Robin Theatre

Robin Theatre

I’m not sure why, but I failed to get a few photos of the Robin Theatre. I’ll chalk it up to being overwhelmed at meeting Matthew in person and then seeing the other folks before the show began. The Robin Theatre is located in the REO Town section of Lansing at 1105 S. Washington Avenue. In this area, Ransom Eli Olds founded Oldsmobile and the REO Motor Company. The neighborhood is considered the birthplace of commercial auto manufacturing, with Olds creating the very first assembly line.

The Robin may be small, but the inside is grand. The lovely walls and sturdy wooden floors emanate the history of this 100-year-old building. The stage was nicely appointed, and well-lit, and the sound was superb. Overall, the Robin Theatre is a fantastic venue, and I hope to get back there for another show.


What started as a fun name for an email account has morphed into a solo musical project called Teutonosaur. The primary Teutonosaurus is guitarist David Baldwin. He had been a member of Harborcoat as well as The Pantones with Matthew. David was joined by Nicholas Merz on bass and Natt Moore on guitar. Listening to Teutonosaur reminded me of Teenage Fanclub and Badly Drawn Boy, with a jangly rock sound that is heartfelt and slightly retro.

Teutonosaur at the Robin Theatre in Lansing
Teutonosaur at the Robin Theatre in Lansing
Teutonosaur at the Robin Theatre in Lansing

Deer & Elk

A quick instrument swap and the stage welcomed Deer & Elk. With two guitars (one electric, one acoustic), Jeff Gower and Jason Lantrip played an excellent set of originals and covers. Their sound is rooted in classic country with a little bit of the western swing meets hillbilly boogie that we all know as rockabilly. These guys would win the hearts of any Merle Haggard or Buck Owens fans. Their cover of “Rednecks, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer” by Johnny Russell capped off a fine performance.

Deer & Elk at the Robin Theatre in Lansing
Deer & Elk at the Robin Theatre in Lansing

Matthew Carlson

After a short break, it was time for Matthew Carlson. Armed with his acoustic guitar, exuberant personality, and vibrant voice, Matthew captivated the audience with his musical storytelling. His passion for music is evident in his writing, yet it comes alive when you experience him performing on the stage. Riffing through a treasure trove of songs that he has written over time with bands such as The Pantones and The Stick Arounds, Matthew put the energy of a full band into his solo performance. 

Matthew Carlson at the Robin Theatre in Lansing
Matthew Carlson at the Robin Theatre in Lansing

I couldn’t help but feel I was in a pub in Ireland where the music seemed to come up from the Earth itself. The raw emotions in Matthew’s voice and the fierce passion of his playing were captivating. For a couple of songs, Matthew included his friends David Baldwin on guitar/backing vocals, Jenny Toms on bass/ backing vocals, Jeff Gower on backing vocals, and Jason Lantrip on guitars/backing vocals. Each ensemble reflects a different aspect of the overall dynamic indie rock sound. Hopefully, this show at the Robin Theatre set the tone for the rest of Matthew’s month-long tour. When he stops by your town, drop in and say hello.

Matthew Carlson at the Robin Theatre in Lansing
Matthew Carlson at the Robin Theatre in Lansing
Matthew Carlson at the Robin Theatre in Lansing


Our gallery has more photos from Matthew Carlson at the Robin Theatre with Teutonosaur and Deer & Elk. Check them out and then drop us a note to tell us what you think.

Teutonosaur at the Robin Theatre in Lansing

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