SHOW REVIEW: Matt Pond PA with dios (malos), February 28, The Big Easy 

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Last night I celebrated Fat Tuesday at the Big Easy. It was exactly the sort of celebration I had envisioned: kind of low-key, but replete with beads and beer and what goes down in the books as one of my top five favorite concerts ever.

After a 13 hour drive from Colorado, dios(malos) and Matt Pond PA managed to dragged their bedraggled selves into our humble hamlet. Van trouble has been a big issue for these bands. There are several members in both bands and their equipment includes all the instruments required for a rock band, plus additional guitars, keyboards and a cello. Pond told me after the show that when they pulled into Boise, every one in both bands was exhausted, but said to themselves "Screw it. Let's put on a great show." They did.

dios(malos) played an amazing set with little time to spare. Each song flowed into the next without much talking or stopping in between. Their music is melodic pop that's clearly influenced by other music and at the same time clearly unique to them. All through their set I kept trying to figure out who they sounded like. There were a couple of Built To Spill-esque melody formations, but that was about it. It finally occurred to me that music I've heard has been influenced by dios and not the other way around. The band came across as a group with a clear vision and full confidence in each other which made watching them as entrancing as hearing them. And, their drummer kicks ass!

A few short minutes after dios left the stage, Matt Pond PA hit it. This band is WYHIWYG: What You Hear Is What You Get. I have been listening to Several Arrows Later almost to the point of obsession over the last month. To see and hear—in a live setting—the songs that have been pealing out of my computer, mp3 player and car stereo was amazing. The band, as tired as they must have been, performed brilliantly. The crowd was a little subdued and, initially, the band seemed concerned, but the longer they played, the more people crowded the stage and the better the whole thing got. If you haven't heard Several Arrows Later and you like layered, melodic, poppy songs with rich sounds and even richer lyrics, you're doing yourself a major disservice. (Hell, I even bought it in vinyl, too.) It's one of the best overall bodies of music I can remember hearing in a long time and I will always treasure the opportunity to see and hear it live. And, their drummer kicked ass, too!

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