Matt Pond Live Review

Matt Pond Live Review w/ Young Buffalo | The Social Orlando | April 13, 2015

by • April 15, 2015

I’m not so certain Matthew Pond PA ever got the chance to set the world on fire. Maybe he did it when I was too busy looking the other way. Mention his name or play one of his songs, though, and you get the rare chance to see eyes light up. You see all the flickers and glimmers and sparks.

Pond is still the sort to dress in the blackest clothes he can manage. He still wears the beard he’s likely had since birth. Still, how many bands can say they’ve managed to release an album so beloved that, 10 years on, they can build a tour around playing nothing but the songs on it? It goes to show how solid albums once were (or, adversely, how far they’ve fallen in that length of time).

Maybe Several Arrows Later didn’t connect as readily in 2005 as it does today, but consider this comparison, too: how many relationships feel more cozy after a decade than they did on their first day out? Matthew Pond PA’s album gets to be the comfortable shoes, the ones that feel best after they’ve been good and lived in. Their songs are not the stuff to sing along with, not entirely, but damn if it doesn’t command respect and intrigue on equal levels.

Pond gets put in that singer-songwriter pile of folksiness (which sometimes lands them in that revered Sad Bastard Music category as well) but his band’s been around a while. They’re staring down the barrel at 15 years. And they’ve been gracious enough to give us eight albums and eight EPs in that length of time.

Still, on a rain-covered Monday night in Orlando, he only manages to fill up half a club. This isn’t a bad thing, not if you know this city very well. On the wet nights, bands usually bring in far less. So it speaks to how devoted the real fans are—the true blue devotees—and how weather doesn’t exactly (wait for it) rain on their respective parade.

I learned something about Matt Pond at The Social. He manages a level of respect not often seen. He talks almost as little (or less so) than the ones who came to actually hear him. Instead, he simply leans hard into, and burns steadily through, the album’s songs with the almost-hooks and melodies warm enough to wrap yourself up inside. That’s how to do it. More show than tell.

I was able to wander around and listen to the songs from Several Arrows Later from all available sides and found myself really sort of grateful. I never thought the album a masterpiece, but perhaps these guys are onto something. Perhaps more albums will resurface only to share the best parts of what they once were and slap the name Tour on it in the process. Matt Pond PA allowed us to jump headlong back into time and remember how the days not so far gone tend to age remarkably well.

It’s worth noting that opener Young Buffalo didn’t mind killing the still gathering crowd with breezy kindness that same night. They dropped into their set like a dangled car with fast-spinning tires. One note of one song and they were off! Even though I’d no preconceived notions of them (I’d not heard a single tune), they’re the only band that got me to buy a vinyl that night. Give them a listen and see if they don’t end up hitting you right in your sweet spot (you know the one).

Matt Pond Live Review by Dainon


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