Music Park: Matt Pond PA @ Rock and Roll Hotel — 10/14/15

“Take Me With You”

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.”

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Don’t Miss: Matt Pond PA @ Rock and Roll Hotel, 10/14/15

Matt Pond PAMatt Pond PA

Matt Pond PA comes to the Rock and Roll Hotel on Wednesday, October 14.

They are currently touring in support of their 10th full-length album, The State of Gold.

Listening to parts of their new album is my first real exposure to their work, which has been prolific. Sampling more of their music, it at times sounds like a dash of country (“Red Ankles”), a touch of Tom Petty (“Let Me Live”), a bit of folk (“Hearts and Minds”) and pieces of pop (“Take Me With You”).

“Take Me With You”

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Don’t Miss: Men Without Hats + China Crisis @ World Café Live, Philadelphia, Pa., 6/15/15

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The new-look Men Without Hats, with iconic frontman Ivan Doroschuk (Photo courtesy Cobraside)

We at ParklifeDC like to do our bit to cover the waterfront as far as bands performing in our fair city.

But sometimes, we just have to get out of town to see some old favorites, you know?

And so it is that on Monday, June 15, we are at the World Café Live in Philadelphia, Pa., for the amazing Men Without Hats, featuring iconic frontman Ivan Doroschuk in what is certain to be an entertaining performance.

About five years ago, Ian recruited a new backing band, and they released a terrific new album in 2012, Love in the Age of War, produced by Dave Ogilvie, who also has famously produced for the likes of Nine Inch Nails and engineered for Carly Rae Jepsen on “Call Me Maybe.”

How satisfying then that Men Without Hats fall squarely between the two – poppy, upbeat and wholly synthy.

I saw the new-look Men Without Hats at the State Theatre on Nov. 29, 2012, and “the new lineup sounded amazing with James Love on guitar and duo synthesizers played by Lou Dawson and Rachel Ashmore — a killer duo with impressive synth skills,” I reported on We Love DC at the time.

I added: But part of the appeal of Men Without Hats is that the songs only fans could name are really terrific songs — songs like “I Like,” “Living in China,” and “Where Do The Boys Go?” The first two appeared along with “The Safety Dance” on the Men Without Hats debut album, Rhythm of Youth in 1982 and still sound sharp today.

Philadelphia, Men Without Hats are worth your time tonight. Because, as the saying goes, we can dance if we want to, and we can leave your friends behind. Everyone wants to “Safety Dance,” and Men Without Hats are certain to fulfill that desire.

Watch the very famous video for “Safety Dance”:

Men Without Hats appear with New Romantic Brits China Crisis. Tickets are available online and at the door.

Men Without Hats + China Crisis
World Café Live
3025 Walnut St., Philadelphia, Pa.
Monday, June 15
Doors @7pm; Show @8pm
$16-23
All ages

Music Park: Voltheque @ Philadelphia, Pa., TBA

voltheque

Circa 1978 or so, like-minded musicians across England made a stand and decided they would chart their own future — and in so doing embraced an attitude not shared by many of their contemporaries.

Their future was one of love, self-determination and optimism. It was a message that was counter-intuitive to some of the youth culture of the time, but these bands — these New Romantics — believed in themselves, and they made a powerful statement about life and love. This scene gave birth to bands we came to love in the United States — bands like Duran Duran and Culture Club.

Voltheque, a collective of young adults from Philadelphia, Pa., weren’t even alive when this happened. But they share a kinship nonetheless. Anchored by Marko Shinko and Simone Strange, Voltheque have proven themselves as musically savvy as any of their new romantic counterparts in the United Kingdom, who were facing economic strangulation and limited opportunities more than 35 years ago.

You see, many of their U.K. inspirations were driven by a desire for a better life and the thrush of creativity that came with the newfound affordability of synthesizers, still a relatively young technology. And in Philadelphia, the kids are good and happy people who also embrace technology and like to dance — and know how to make music by which to dance.

And so it is in the strongest possible terms that I recommend to you Voltheque, a group of young musicians with cool hair who sound really damn great together. They have to date produced two self-released indie albums available via Bandcamp at https://v0ltheque.bandcamp.com, which are completely worth checking out — particularly with the fantastic debut album, Voltheque, and its songs like “Dialogue,” “Heart Attack” and (ahem) “Der Sexer Roboter” (which I’ll confess is all kinds of amazing).

And although they have a penchant to get a bit artsy poetic at times, you’ll never hear me complain about such a thing when they produce lush results like “The Bells” on their second album, I’ve Known All Along. (I have after all been kicked out of many the same drinking establishments between Baltimore, Md., and Newark, Del., as Edgar Allan Poe… 😉 )

Anyway, these ladies and gents are amazing, and most certainly deserve your attention. Follow them at https://www.facebook.com/Voltheque, and catch them in their next show, which may happen as soon as June in Philadelphia. They are a refreshing antidote to many other bands that may have more angst but less vision.