September 23rd @ The Corner Hotel
Take one spaced-out frontman, add half a dozen crowd surfers, mix some flannelette and you’ve got a standard Sunday evening for West Aus trippers Pond.
Snatching a leaf from fellow sandgropers Tame Impala, Pond have been thrashing their credentials to much acclaim both here and abroad. The fact that tonight’s show – a school night, mind you – was given the full house treatment well in advance is testament to Melbourne’s affinity for the band.
Prior to the headline slot, Super Wild Horses provided the ideal one-two lead in. Originally springing from Perth (who isn’t these days?), the female duo conjured enough enthusiasm to suggest they can more than hold their own. The fact they’re willing to take on the boys in such a testosterone-heavy genre is proof enough of their minerals.
A murmuring version of Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s ‘Fanfare For The Common Man’ preceded Pond’s imminent arrival on stage. For those who don’t recognise the title, think back to the theme song played before every Channel 7 sporting event in the 1990s, or better yet, YouTube it.
From the outset, it was clear frontman Nick Allbrook had been indulging in several not-to-be-named medicinal substances backstage. Although his off-beat behaviour added a certain amount of edge to the night’s festivities, fans would hope his antics can be curbed to the point where it won’t hinder the group’s future successes.
You don’t need to look too far beyond the likes of Andrew Stockdale (Wolfmother) and Craig Nicholls (The Vines) to see how a single ego can implode a promising band.
One of the more admirable aspects of Pond is their ability to be adventurous during the endless tempo changes and reverb solos. Their backbone is so good that they could probably solider on successfully as a purely instrumental outfit.
Combining a punishing lead attack with a zip-lock rhythm core, the band unleashes a double delivery of ‘You Broke My Cool’ and ‘Fantastic Explosion Of Time’. Not be outdone is their treble of new tunes, including the oddly titled ‘Giant Tortoise’.
By the time ‘Moth Wings’ is delivered, the majority of t-shirt/beanie/ankle-boot wearing punters are primed to tear all of the Corner’s famous view-reducing pillars down. It almost gets a little too heavy when a male stage invader is promptly – and deservedly – shoved back into the mosh by security.
If Tame Impala can become Pitchfork darlings overnight, then Pond deserve to be similarly in favour. As tonight’s performance proved, the band’s bruising repertoire is more than capable of matching any neo-psychedelic-rock outfit currently doing the rounds.