Sundays are typically meant for doing laundry or meal prepping, but when Pond comes to town, everything instantly changes.
The Perth, Australia-born psychedelic gems confidently stepped on stage at the Fonda Theatre this past weekend and delivered a performance so energetic and lively it had concert goers young to old moshing, bopping, and grooving the night away into the late hours.
This legendary set began with “30,000 Megatons,” the lead track off of the groups critically acclaimed 2017 album, The Weather. Pond’s lead singer and guitarist, Nick Allbrook, calmly took the stage to deliver those memorable opening lines and after the crowd realized that Nick is a master stage performer, we all strapped in for Pond’s wild ride. Quickly following “30,000 Megatons” was “Sweep Me Off My Feet,” the synth-driven rock anthem that nearly every attendee was shouting at the top of their lungs. Honestly, it became a little difficult to hear Nick belt out those lyrics over the excited crowd shouting chorus after chorus.
Now that the crowd had fully immersed themselves in the magic of the music, everyone loosened up a bit and the aforementioned grooving began. “Fire In The Water,” the only B-side to come from The Weather, was the 3rd track in the setlist and that’s when the real fun began. Shortly after though, the lights dimmed to a dull red and the spotlight shown on Allbrook’s face. He bent over, grabbed his jazz flute, and busted into the bass-centric Zen Automaton. Allbrook’s flute mixed with Jay Watson’s exceedingly difficult bass lines build for a song that should only be experienced in a live setting. Not to say that this track isn’t outstanding recorded, but the intricacy really shines through when you’re 5 feet away watching the magic unfold in front of you.
Midway through the set, Pond finally busted out the most notable hits from their latest album release, Tasmania. “Hand Mouth Dancer” was the first track to be unleashed and oh my, what a doozy. The screaming and soaring synthesizers made for one of the most serious cases of musical frisson I have ever experienced. Following that masterpiece was another Tasmania single, “Burnt Out Star,” the eight-minute rock-opera esque track that mashes up the perfect combination of Shiny Joe Ryan’s guitar skills and James Ireland’s severely underrated drumming. My personal take on this song is that it exists entirely to give Nick Allbrook an excuse to get very familiar with the crowd in the form of multiple stage dives, hovering over us like the rock god he is and continues to be.
A potential hot take, but I firmly believe we’ll still be talking about Allbrook’s stage presence, musicianship, and raw emotion 20 years from now. The travesty that Pond isn’t more widely regarded as one of the premier live rock acts in today’s day and age just means that more people should give them a chance instead of consistently being in the massive shadow of Tame Impala. For those still reading, you must be in shock it took this long into the article to have any mention of Tame Impala, and guess what, this will be the last mention because it’s time for Pond to shine on through.
The rest of the show’s setlist was a jump all over their discography from the lesser known Hobo Rocket hit, “Aloneaflameaflower” to infrequently played “Eye Pattern Blindness” off Beard, Wives, Denim. While the main set closed out with the screaming guitar solos from “The Weather,” we all knew there would be an encore that would leave us in a frenzy.
The band took the stage for one last time after the crowd begged and pleaded for more. “We can talk by the riiiiver…” rolled off Allbrook’s tongue as we all knew in an instant we were in for one of the greatest psychedelic rides of our time, “Man It Feels Like Space Again.” This song can’t really be put into words other than it’s a masterpiece that will hopefully live on in the setlist forever and ever. Every band member has their own section to shine and the crowd eats it up everytime, as we should. As the song wrapped up, I think every concert goer knew they had just witnessed something special and began counting down the days until the next time Pond comes to town. When will that be? Soon, I hope.
Words and photos by Austin Sher