Thursday, January 26, 2012

Review: Matt Nathanson in Burlington, Vermont

Sunday, January 22, 2012

I found out that Matt Nathanson was headlining a show in Vermont while in the middle of a tutorial for one of my physiology classes last semester. I immediately texted Mike and bought tickets. Other students in my class were probably wondering what I could POSSIBLY be smiling about in such a setting, but I was not bothered by this! After that day, I had just over a month to anxiously await my first Matt show! On Sunday, Mike and I (or maybe it was just me) decided to leave Montreal a little before 1:00 for our two and a half hour drive down to Vermont for the show. We arrived just after 3:00, and went for a rather large, greasy lunch at Applebee’s.

Doors opened at 7:00, but by the time we got back to the venue, it was just after 4:00. To my delight, we were quite obviously first in line! To my defense, I did come prepared with blankets, headbands, and gloves for both of us! And while it was about -5˚C in Vermont, I felt justified sitting outside considering it was about 15˚C colder in Montreal. After a little less than an hour, the box office guy came out and told us we could wait inside if we wanted, which was very nice of him! While waiting inside, we got to hear Matt doing sound check! That was a pretty cool experience, and we got to hear him play “Kiss Quick”, “Queen Of (K)nots”, and “Fall To Pieces”.

By about 6:00, Mike and I went back outside because a few other people were starting to line up. We quickly made friends with them, which in my opinion, is one of the most exciting parts about going to a show for an artist that you really love! We all started talking about past Matt shows, and I told everyone it was our first time seeing him. A lot of people mentioned that they had seen Matt open for Lifehouse at that venue about four years earlier, and I died inside a little bit. They clearly misinterpreted my almost-death, and assured me that I shouldn’t worry, because even though they’re both great, Matt was better than Lifehouse. I disagreed, and proceeded to show them all my Lifehouse necklace and the picture of me and Jason that is obviously still my cell phone background! However, I quickly forgave them, because we all did agree on how awesome Matt is, after all!
About ten minutes before doors opened, a group of 50 people went inside to get their tickets, and ended up getting let into the venue early because they were all “Matt’s relatives”. This was pretty aggravating, and didn’t end up being true, but Mike and I still ended up in the front row amongst a group of children under 12 years old. The opening act was this girl named Audra Mae, who played acoustic guitar and had a guy playing stand-up bass with her. They had a bit of a country sound, which isn’t something I typically listen to, but I still enjoyed their set.

By about 8:30, Matt came on stage, and started his set with “Drop To Hold You”. Even though the tour was for his newest album, “Modern Love”, he played a perfect mix of new and older songs with a couple of covers thrown in. The setlist was almost exactly as pictured, but he skipped “Mercy”, and reversed the order of “Come On Get Higher” and “All We Are”. Every song translated so well live and brought something new, instead of sounding exactly the same as on his albums. Matt was very interactive with the crowd and got everyone singing along and clapping, especially during “Faster”. I’ve heard he’s usually pretty crude in between songs, but he noticed immediately how young the front row was, and decided to tone it down a bit. Despite this, he still had the entire audience hysterical with laughter at his astounding use of metaphor to describe the “carnal” things that many of his songs are about. Before playing his cover of “Laid”, he told us that the song was about chickens and how they make eggs. He then explained that this was the reason they called it “laid”. While I’m not sure that it was the most appropriate setting for the 7 year old boy next to me, I feel certain his parents will be bombarded with interesting questions for the next few days! I know at that age I probably would have been curious as to how aggressive “Scrabble playing" could break a bed, which is apparently the subject matter of his song “Come On Get Higher”.

Not only is Matt an exceptional song writer, performer, and well above average in the art of hip shaking, he puts on such an entertaining show that your face will hurt from laughing and smiling so much. If he comes to your town, or anywhere near it for that matter, don’t even think twice about going to see him. If you find yourself lucky enough to have the opportunity to go to one of his shows, get tickets right away before they inevitably sell out!

After his set, we grouped back up with the people we met in line and talked about how amazing Matt was! Mike and I even bought matching “I’m nobody’s girlfriend” shirts (a lyric from the song “Modern Love”), though I highly doubt he will ever wear his in public again. Overall, it was a fantastic night, and I can’t wait to see Matt again, hopefully in Montreal!

Here are a couple of videos I took at the show, in case anyone is interested in checking them out. “Bent” is a song off an older album that I hadn’t listened to very much, but fell in love with after hearing it live. Don’t you just love when that happens?

“Run” is Matt’s new single off of "Modern Love", which he sings with Jennifer Nettles from Sugarland. I apologize in advance for any truly awful singing you may hear in the background!


  1. I love how enthusiastic you are about live shows :) This is why we're friends!!

  2. Hahahah yes, this is true! I am more enthusiastic about certain ones though, and this was one I was really excited for! :)

  3. I think you should wear that shirt in public again

  4. Awesome review! !!! I totally missed out! :( I'm so glad you had fun though. :D