Pardon the cliche, but yes, Matt Pond is like fine wine. I can understand where people may say things like “I’m not a Matt Pond fan.” But, I still believe that every album released has something that most people will like on it, even if it’s just one song. For the Pond faithful, every release is a lovingly crafted masterpiece of introspection, love, longing, nostalgia, and generally warm, fuzzy feelings, even if the lyrics themselves are a bit cynical.
So, a group of us gathered at Underground Arts to celebrate the 10th anniversary of what I believe to be the true start of the path he’s traveled to create more and more enjoyable albums, Emblems. That’s not to say it is a poor or sub-par album, it’s just the beginning of a pretty awesome journey through music and songwriting. Always seeming a little bashful and maybe slightly out of place, Mr. Pond brought along the usual suspects to lead a very willing crowd through some sing-alongs, a bit of dancing, and—judging by some expressions—some intensely personal moments.
My personal two favorites from the list were the two most rousing in the set. “Lily Two” had people swaying hard enough to shift the venue a couple of feet, and “New Hampshire” was a sing-along with enough memories of days gone by to bring a few tears to the eyes of participants. Of course, the album itself wash’t the only treat. Pond is always good for a smile, and would not let any cry of affection from the audience go unanswered. He also took the time to address what I think we all already knew—his eternal bromance with guitarist Chris Hansen. There was enough time to fill up the set with other giants such as his treatise on ‘the scene’ “Halloween” and the epic “Love To Get Used.” Probably the best way anyone there has spent an evening since the last time they saw Matt Pond play.
Openers Rosu Lup and The Lighthouse & The Whaler both earned their time in the spotlight. The former jamming out with trumpet, violin, guitars, and a healthy dose of Cello solo; the latter a more high-energy romp that would feel right at home in a playlist with the likes of Band Of Horses. Both are more than worthy of a deeper dive. Start off on Rosu Lup’s “Dust and Days,” filled with swelling strings and bellowing calls. For The Lighthouse, check out “Venice,” filled with light, dancing guitars and joyful attitude.