Taking cues from Jonah Matranga (Far, Gratitude) and Andrew McMahon (Something Corporate, Jack's Mannequin), John Nolan has toned down the emo-angst of Taking Back Sunday and wrapped it in luscious string and piano arrangements with his new band Straylight Run, who will headline this evening. The real story here, though, is the opening acts. Former Miracle of 86er Kevin Devine is Capitol's answer to Conor Oberst—a sharp and witty singer-songwriter with a penchant for politics and a weakness for women. He penned the most poignant address of post-September 11 paranoia with "Noose Dressed Like a Necklace" and perfectly summarized the political indifference felt by millions at the ballot box with "No Time Flat." With a push from producer Rob Schnapf (Beck, Elliot Smith), his latest, Put Your Ghost to Rest, may finally break into the mainstream. Somber chamber pop outfit Matt Pond PA captures the splendor in the grass separating Nick Drake's Five Leaves Left and the Arcade Fire's Funeral with their fifth and best album to date, Several Arrows Later. With the recent changing of the seasons, expect to hear a few comfortably cold covers—such as Neil Young's "Winterlong" or Lindsay Buckingham's "Holiday Road"—from last year's Winter Songs EP. Come early, stay late.
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