In front of a roaring, adoring crowd at Enmore Theatre, POND proved to Sydney once more that they’re amongst the best live acts in the country.
The very first time I saw POND live, they blew my tiny little mind-tank to cosmic smithereens. I had seen Nic Allbrook solo and Jay Watson’s project GUM a handful of times and I knew just how downright freewheeling they could be.
Although, nothing could have prepared me for the utterly euphoric moment when Giant Tortoise ripped out across the flailing mosh of sweaty bods. Their powers combined and it was then that I had an epiphany: POND are one of the most incredible bands to ever write and perform music on this earth. And their latest record The Weather is but further testimony.
With its sweeping synth chasms, capacious vocals and poignant lyrical musings, it kind of feels like space again, but the band’s self-professed leap in sound quality and “cringe” censoring certainly stands out on this record (note: they’ve never been cringeworthy).
Produced by long-time buddy and collaborator Kevin Parker, it also headlines some awesomely concerted pop moments – Sweep Me Off My Feet is as catchy as it is epic and Paint Me Silver features the dreamiest hook in current memory. Colder Than Ice is likely as lo-fi and crusty as they get among the ten tracks, with dirty synths, sax, Kirin J Callinan, and a music video that could rival Spike Jonze’s Sabotage.
They brought all of this and 30,000 megatons more to the Enmore Theatre over the weekend, including stellar openers Reef Prince and Body Type.
The former is a Perth based hip-hop artist whose own spaced-out feels equaled that of the headliner. He’s previously toured with fellow west coast acts Erasers and Methyl Ethel and returned with a certain celestial finesse this time around (or ‘Alien Trap’ as he calls it).
The latter are a group who has all but collected the radar over the last year. Body Type are an all girl, all kick, no frills Sydney band who have appeared on the bill for a slew of festivals and tours of late, including BIGSOUND last month.
On Saturday, they built the damn thing up and absolutely tore it down, the crowd wittingly turning up early just to witness it.
Enter POND, the main act, the psych-rock ragamuffins of the west. They kicked off with some familiar existential crisis (30,000 Megatons), schmoozed into a wistful classic (Waiting Around For Grace), and gave way to our favourite love song (Sweep Me Off My Feet).
Allbrook is up there with protégé Callinan in terms of stage presence and sheer talent as a performer; your eyes just can’t tear away. Watson, Ryan, Terry and Ireland also hold their own impressively. The energy between them is relaxed, like this is the millionth time they’ve jammed together, while they so calmly deliver arena style psychedelia to their incredibly devoted audience.
Moreover, their on-stage banter is possibly the most laid-back I have heard, but I wasn’t bored for a moment. They don’t need to be showmen, and they don’t try to be anything but themselves, and we’re sold every time.
Words and photos by Dani Hansen.