Matt Pond PA, 6.15.10

My first experience at the Independent was… a loud one. And a free one. It involved me and my photographer friend using earplugs and making hand signals at each other. Good times. The venue isn’t actually meant for music, only in the sense that quiet bands, like the ones I saw that night, instantly become quasi-metal-volume bands. It’s a bit overwhelming. But other than that, what a venue. It’s in that weird middle-of-nowhere part of San Francisco, where the city stops looking like The City and starts looking like a city. The blocks are longer, the noise outside the venue is relatively subdued, and there are a lot of gas stations and residential buildings. The crowd there was pretty great, too, save for one hyper-horny couple who insisted on shoving each other’s tongues down each other’s throats throughout the show. I moved; also, I’m bitter. But anyway, I’m not really sure what I was expecting out of the crowd. Maybe more hipsters? More punks? Who knows, but I liked what I saw either way.

The bands that played went in this order: good, bad, great. I feel like the first band was the one from Washington, but according to the website Wintersleep (via Canada) played first, so maybe I have it backwards. Anyway, sorry to those bands for getting them confused. The point I’m trying to make is that I liked the first and last bands, but not so much the band inbetween. The first band had a scrappy charm to it; the lead singer was pretty mesmerizing, cute, and definitely wasn’t trying too hard to be different. He sang honestly and purely, and let himself get caught up in the music without making an effort to draw attention to how cool he thought he was. Whereas the second group (The Lonely Forest, via Washington State, apparently) used a lot of weird coloring (distorted microphones, chord progressions that just DID NOT MAKE SENSE) to try and make themselves seem really cool, but it actually just came across as some sort of experiment conducted by a few mildly musically talented high school students. Like I could tell they knew how to play music, but they were a little too aware of the fact that they were an independent band doing independent things. Anyway.

Matt Pond PA, the headliner, was the headliner for a reason. Pond himself was witty and fun and awkward in a way that made me wish I didn’t have work in the morning. And their songs were crisp and tight and professional, yet not overproduced. They were just… experienced. And fun to watch. And it seems that they’ve been around for awhile, but still remain independent, so they’re probably doing just fine. I guess it really is possible…