Pond

support Froth
author BV date 10/03/15 venue Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DEN

A lot of people know Tame Impala - and I mean a lot. Fewer people seem to be aware of another Perth-based band called Pond, whose six albums tall discography boasts excursions into a vast array of different styles and genres that all have one thing in common; a quirky, psychedelic approach to the general sound. With more people focusing on the larger of these two bands, it is really no surprise that I arrived at Pumpehuset for Pond’s gig to find the venue half-empty. I did find it to be a shame, however. Nonetheless I opted for a they don’t know what they’re missing attitude and prepared myself for the barrage of strangeness to come.

All photos courtesy of Peter Troest

Due to unforeseen circumstances only photos of Pond are available

Froth

First up, however, was the Los Angeles-based support band Froth. Prior to this evening I had never heard of them – not even read a single mention of their band – which I found particularly strange as my initial impression of them was a band with a quite distinct and fairly interesting sound to them. Granted, their mid-tempo semi-ambient music might not be suited for everyone but on this particular night it was a quite welcome musical approach. The lengthy sonic excursions incited minor cases of dancing and a fair amount of head-bopping to the music. Approving faces were found all around, but as time passed their approach soon became somewhat formulaic; meaning that there were no real elements of surprise or intrigue left, resulting in a minor loss of connection with the crowd – leaving the prior nods of approval to fade out and be replaced by strategically planned trips to the bar. Overall I’d call my first encounter with Froth a minor success with moments of boredom intertwined. I’d like to get to see them again in the near future to see how they’ve progressed from here.

Pond

Following a rather lengthy changeover and soundcheck, Pond finally came onstage and immediately enticed the audience with a haunting rendition of “Waiting Around for Grace” – one of the absolute highlights off of their newest album, “Man it Feels Like Space Again”. As it turns out, focus on their new album would be a predominant factor throughout the set as they ventured into lead-single “Elvis’ Flaming Star” – an excursion into up-tempo, electronic psychedelia with the ability to make even the most stoic of figures in the audience take off into a full-blown dancing frenzy wherein one could only hope to match the strangely enticing, yet weirdly unsettling stage moves of front-man Nick Allbrook. Although Pond is a collective entity, most people do tend to fix their eyes on Allbrook for extended periods of time when the band plays live – with this gig being no exception. A reason for this can possibly be found in his charming eccentricity which, coupled with his voice and quite unconventional guitar playing, makes for an interesting sight altogether. One of the night’s highpoints, the mesmerizing “You Broke My Cool” was delivered with such power and presence that the enthralling beauty of the studio version of the track paled in comparison – which is kind of a rare feat, in my experience.

What seemed entirely evident throughout the night, was that even though Pond are renowned for their diversity on record, they should probably also be quite acclaimed for their tight and energetic live performances. Through even the quietest and most mellow tracks like “Sitting up on Our Crane” the band managed to convey the type of energy only the very best of live bands tend to be capable of conveying. By clever use of eccentric on-stage banter in-between songs, the band also won over the crowd on the non-musical side by having members proclaim things like; ”Yeah, this is the third-to-last stop of the tour, so at this point we’re basically just trying to make each other vomit on stage. - Which is cool, I quite like vomit.” With a cover of Brian Eno’s “Baby’s on Fire”, the band made the most of their impressive array of synths on stage by creating a vast, ambient underlying soundscape to support the relatively energetic track – subsequently thanking Eno for creating such wonderful ambient music to block out the voices in one’s head with.

Culminating in a seamless transition from “Giant Tortoise” to “Midnight Mass”, it was quite hard to find any noticeable flaws in Pond’s performance – save for their relatively short time on stage, as the set amounted to 70 minutes give or take. With their one and only encore, the title track of their new album, Pond sent the crowd off into space with a kaleidoscopic musical journey through the quietest of passages to the highest of peaks which showcased not only their tight musical performance but also the joy they seemingly find in playing this material as they playfully improvised, jumped about and smirked at each other’s contorted faces before finally succumbing and ending the song – sending the crowd off into the brisk night from whence it came. I can only conclude that this will not be the last time I’ll be seeing a Pond show. Not in the slightest.

9

Setlist:

  • 1. Waiting Around for Grace
  • 2. Elvis’ Flaming Star
  • 3. You Broke My Cool
  • 4. Heroic Shart
  • 5. Don’t Look at the Sun or You’ll Go Blind
  • 6. Sitting up on Our Crane
  • 7. Baby’s on Fire (Brian Eno cover)
  • 8. Medicine Hat
  • 9. Giant Tortoise
  • 10. Midnight Mass
  • --Encore—
  • 11. Man it Feels Like Space Again

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