On a cold-ish October evening, Matt Pond PA breezed onto the Troubadour’s smoky stage – a stage which, that night, happened to be outfitted with fake trees, green overhead lighting and a deer head (complete with antlers).

It was meant to look – and did look – like the inside of a lodge. Except with green and blue lighting. And smoke. And a couple hundred people smashed onto the floor together.

Despite promising surroundings and an audible buzz of excitement in the crowd, however, the band fell short of expectations. A lackluster opening song didn’t match the undercurrent of energy in the crowd, and a poorly chosen slow tempo was more of a drag than a grand opening.

I wasn’t the only disappointed one. I overheard some fans outside smoking and bemoaning the loss of the band’s cellist.

It appears that the loss of said cellist may be the cause of the lack of stage presence and energy, as well as a certain sameness found in the new songs. Regardless, the vibrancy I’d come to expect from Matt Pond PA was clearly not there; it got to the point where most of the songs started blending into one another, and I started focusing on how tired my feet were from standing. That’s never a good sign.

Don’t worry, though, it wasn’t all bad: Matt Pond was charming. The drummer had some kicky glasses and was working the dorky-chic look. There was a flannel overload (which I love).

And the band was actually at its best playing upbeat songs, when every band member was on a different instrument. It created a certain balance that really wasn’t there much of the time, and that kind of balance culminated in some really powerful moments during songs like “Taught to Look Away” and “Brooklyn Stars.”

The band seems to be going through a transitionary period right now; we can only hope that they’ll hit their stride the next time around.