Matt Pond PA, fronted by Matt Pond from Pennsylvania, took the Rock and Roll Hotel crowd on a refreshingly honest musical journey last Wednesday, 10/14/15.
With a catalog of music spanning 17 years (their first album came out in 1998), they played 16 or so songs for the semi-full venue.
That there were many long-time fans in attendance was apparent when you turned in every direction to spot the many people singing along to their older songs.
In addition to the lead singer, Matt Pond, the band consists of his “best friend”, Chris Hansen, and other recurring members, including a bearded cellist. The band did enjoy beards, as three of the five members sported one. This speaks more to the expectation of a more folk or country sound, but the reality is there were elements of many musical genres, from guitar rock, chamber pop, post-punk and the aforementioned folk and country.
The band is currently touring for their 10th full-length album, The State of Gold, released in June. Their setlist was certainly supportive of the new material, as they played at least five songs from The State of Gold.
Many of the songs deal with loss, yet with a sense of exploring new challenges and hope on the horizon. With “Take Me With You”, the refrain “when we run away, let’s really run” leads to “It feels good to be gone.”
In “Four Eyes”, they seek a better life with “Let’s go further still than we’ve ever gone, let’s go far beyond what we’ve ever known.”
In “More No More”, things did get better with “I’ve been a friend of doubt. I don’t know doubt, not anymore.”
The band performed with a sense of confidence and practiced ease. Matt Pond himself was very talkative during the set. He confided that he was conceived in DC, which earned a big round of cheers, but when he clarified that is was actually in Silver Spring, a couple apparent Maryland haters booed…to which he shot back, “Hey, I was raised liking your stupid teams.” Later, he jokingly started a song, “I love talking politics on stage. So guns…what are we going to do?”
Although I enjoyed listening to their new album, I’ve noticed you don’t really get the full depth of their songs until you experience them live.
My personal favorite song they performed live was “Love To Get Used”, from their 9th album, The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand. “So simple, it’s like the sun, shines down on everyone.”
When they return to DC, make it a point to catch their show. It’s that simple.