Matt Nathanson Impresses Crowd At Sold Out Varsity Theater


With the talk of snow filling the remainder of the weekend, the energy at Matt Nathanson’s sold out acoustic show on Friday night was incredible. I think many of us are ready for the snow to be done, and for spring to start moving in. Upon walking into the Varsity Theater, one could tell everyone was there to have a good time and let loose a bit before we were likely trapped inside till Sunday afternoon after a long work week. I got there a little bit before Blu Sanders took the stage, and the venue was already packed. After grabbing a beverage, I stepped down onto the floor, and made my way into the crowd.

Blu Sanders kicked off the evening at 7 p.m. on the dot, and prepared fans for the remainder of the evening with his incredible voice and acoustics. Coming from the same wheelhouse as Nathanson, Sanders’ tunes set listeners up for an evening of easy listening with meaningful lyrics. Originally from Texas, and currently residing in Nashville, Sanders has been playing for quite some time with his first album, “My Gemini Self” being released in 2003. Since Sanders has continued progressing in his musical career releasing album, “More of Something Else” in 2005, a few EP’s in 2009, and most recently “Heart City” which was released earlier this year. Throughout his set, Sanders played a few fan favorites, some of which including, “Get in the Car and Drive”, “Hands”, and “By Her Side”. I love when I find music that speaks to me, and at the end of Sanders’ set I found myself immediately saving him to my Spotify account. I would recommend checking him out if you haven’t already.

Nathanson began his portion of the evening around 8 p.m. after a quick set change opening with “Headphones”, “Kill the Lights”, “Way Way Back”, and “Different Beds”. Right off the bat I really enjoyed how interactive he was with the crowd, and how he shared a little bit about himself before or after each song. Being that this was an all ages show set to end at 10 p.m., the crowd present at this show displayed a wide age range, but I would say many fans were 25 and up. This was a little surprising to me due to Nathanson’s most recent album release in October of 2018, but I wasn’t complaining. He continued the evening with a mix of both old and new songs some of which including, “Show Me Your Fangs”, “All We Are”, “Back Together”, “Kiss Quick”, and “Answering Machine”. After moving to the cities, I found that many artists pay some sort of tribute to Prince when they roll through town, and now I wait for it; if Prince isn’t brought up it actually surprises me these days. Nathanson passed the test (obviously) and included covers of “Raspberry Beret” and “Little Red Corvette”.

I really enjoyed how his set was planned out as it included an awesome mix of old and new jams, but made it entertaining for both new and long-time listeners. Many members of the crowd were singing along and dancing throughout the entirety of the evening. He played “Then I’ll Be Smiling”, and “Giants” before going into a cover of Chris Isaak’s, “Wicked Game”. Even though I loved the ENTIRE concert, and knew every song in his set, the last half hour to forty-five minutes of the show were probably my favorite as the energy in the room increased because many of the songs in this portion were catchy and just made you want to move. “Long Distance Runner” and “Used to Be” from his new album were played before a cover of The Cure’s “Pictures of You”. At this point, I had a feeling many members of the crowd were waiting to hear a few of his top hits from back in the day, and soon we got just that! Nathanson closed the evening with “Sing Me Sweet”, “Faster”, “Come On Get Higher”, and “Suspended”.

Overall, I thought this show was absolutely incredible, and was a great way to break up the craziness of this winter that we’ve gotten blessed with this year. If you have the opportunity to see Nathanson, I highly recommend it as he makes his shows enjoyable for all and provides an eclectic mix of a long history of music. I know I’ll be trying to catch him the next time he comes through town.