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Review: The Lighthouse and the Whaler, Matt Pond, Jukebox the Ghost

Jukebox the Ghost tour, Jukebox the Ghost, Jukebox the Ghost show review, Matt Pond show review, Matt Pond, Matt Pond tour, The Lighthouse and the Whaler, The Lighthouse and the Whaler show review, The Lighthouse and the Whaler tour, Crescent BallroomTechnical difficulties, tigers, and tremendous tune-age, oh my! This is a slight taste of what the Crescent Ballroom audience received at last night’s Jukebox the Ghost, Matt Pond, and The Lighthouse and the Whaler show.

The Lighthouse and the Whaler stepped on stage first. One of the members was armed with a violin, and another with a mandolin. Having never heard of the group before, I knew I was in for a surprise. The performance was fun, with the mandolin/keyboard/back-up vocalist dancing all over the stage. Aside from lead singer and guitarist Michael LoPresti, the band members switched around instruments, proving their musical abilities extend to great lengths. They kept the mood light and fresh, and even enticed the audience to sing along during their wordless chorus of “oohs.” The band had quite a fan following at the show, which proves it’s doing something right.

Next up, Matt Pond. After introducing us all to Luxury the Tiger, a big white stuffed animal tiger, the band went straight into song. The most enjoyable aspect of the performance was the integrity and sincerity with which Matt Pond sang. His facial expressions evoke truth in every word and a there were a few times I thought he was a close to tears.

Whilst Pond tended to his out-of-tune guitar, he tried to strike up conversation with the audience. When he admitted that he was a University of Arizona Wildcat for two weeks, a few people from the crowd booed. He tried switching the subject to sports but resolved, “no one wants to talk about sports.”

Pond’s backing band did a superb job and the members’ unity in performance is commendable. As a group, they were able to make the music fluid and easy to listen to, even though there was very little eye contact amongst them. The set ended with “Love to Get Used” and left some chanting “one more song!”

After the lights faded, the crowd began to scream and clap. The members of Jukebox the Ghost took to the stage while the 20th Century Fox theme song played in the background. They jumped straight into their set for the evening and everyone went wild. I must admit, at this point in the night, I was getting a bit sleepy and was not opposed to leaving early. However, after a few minutes of Jukebox the Ghost’s performance, I lost those desires.

Watching lead singer and keyboard extraordinaire Ben Thornewill is similar to watching someone that doesn’t realize they’re being watched. The only difference is that he knows quite well that many eyes are on him, so he does his best to ensure that viewers are truly entertained. You can tell that Thornewill gets into his zone by his sporadic eye movements, not to mention his extreme musicianship. This is also true of Jesse Kirstin, drummer of the group. His focus is on the music and his bandmates, trying to make sure that he’s with them 100 percent.

If Jukebox the Ghost didn’t realize before how strong its fan following is in Phoenix, it does now. So many audience members sang along to the songs with passion. Throughout the show, Thornewill joked with the audience about how Arizona has rock lawns and undrinkable water.

Despite a few microphone problems, the set was entertaining. It showed the band member’s talents and most importantly, their love of what they do. The fact that they bring so much energy and vigor to the same set list they’ve been playing for the past few weeks is rather remarkable. To those of you who were unable to attend, have no fear, the band promised to be back sooner than later.

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