I meant to post this just after the show, but I didn't.
I saw Matt Pond PA play on March 7th at the Epicentre in Mira Mesa.
The band sounded great, fitting a sometimes symphonic sound from a few band members into a smallish low-ceilinged venue (okay, teen center). I was impressed that their sometimes melancholy songs translated so well to a live performance, and as usual it was fantastic to see actual people play favorite familiar songs in person. As compared to their albums, live, they rocked a little more - which is only right.
However, the band fails to even mention the date on their running tour blog, and I think I know why. Mira Mesa in general, and the Epicentre in particular, occupy an all-too familiar spot right in the nexus of lame. It's hard for me not to feel a little sad whenever I drive through the place, a plateau of asphalt wedged between freeways and topped with a layer-cake of condos, strip malls and "communities". The Epicentre is not a bar or any kind of concert hall - it is a teen center directly across from the local high school. The bathrooms smelled like chalk and institutional cleaners, and although I'm sure I'd have visited the place if it'd existed near my high school, it was clearly trying too hard to be both cool and safe, two things which can never coexist, especially if you're a minor.
I'm a little embarrassed for my adopted city because too many bands will experience San Diego as a place where they draw ten percent of their usual crowds and are forced to play at the diner from Saved by the Bell.
In summary, Matt Pond PA was very good, and I really hope they don't hold a grudge.