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The Matches Struck Up Warmly Welcome Nostalgia At The Bottom Lounge

By Katie Karpowicz in Arts & Entertainment on Nov 16, 2014 8:00PM

2014_11_thematches.jpg If 2013 was the year of the classic album anniversary tour, 2014 was the year of the album anniversary tour bandwagon. Fan favorite records turned ten, fifteen, twenty, and more tour dates poured in—some more anticipated than others.

Of the few that really caught our attention was a reunion from Oakland's The Matches. Had the four members not flirted too much with their inner weirdness on later releases, this band could have been big. The snappy, pop rock sing-a-longs on its debut release E. Von Dahl Killed The Locals stood out as individual gems, especially in 2004, when pop punk was inescapable.

After breaking up in 2009, The Matches reformed to celebrate EVDKTL's tenth anniversary this year in several select cities. A sold out crowd packed into the Bottom Lounge on Friday night for another night of classic album-themed nostalgia.

"Every Friday at three shadows escape from the factory. If you can go to the show, hurry up and get back to me. Tonight we meet underground where the air is thick like mud and the bands make noise that we call audio blood."

Singing along to lyrics like this for the first time in years made us remember the slew of bands that were left in the dust and worn down clubs of pop punk's boom in the mid-2000s. Not all bands made it to Fall Out Boy status. Watching Tom Higgenson of the Plain White T's on drums with the night's local opener, That Lying Bitch, reminded us that not even big success lasts forever in the music industry.

The Matches didn't play arenas or make it to the radio, but, in 2004, they wrote an album that still holds up as smart, accessible and talented ten years later. Even though this wasn't their first show of the reunion tour, we still expected a few cobwebs to be on display during the live show. We were wrong though. Everything sounded as crisp and impassioned as it ever did, proving that this album was no fluke.

I had lots of fun singing along to this one last night. Thanks for the memories @TheMatches! #ChainMeFree

A video posted by katie_karp (@katie_karp) on

Songs like "Chain Me Free" had us bouncing up and down and others carried a bit of irony give the time that had passed.

"Just wait until we're touring for the album's twentieth anniversary. Then that song's going to be really creepy," the band joked about the hopeful and immature nature of "Say 18."

The Matches wrote some good material after EVDKTL—the show's five-song encore proved that—but nothing as thoroughly great as that first release. If this reunion continues past these few shows, we hope they pick up where the left off all those years ago. "Returning to form" is a phrase that's used much too often in music criticism but in this case, that's actually exactly what we hope they would do.