Pond @ Cargo, London 22/5/12
May 29, 2012 by Kris Lavin
In the lingering heat of the fading day, Shoreditch was overwhelmingly humid; the scores of thick-rimmed glasses obscuring inevitable facial tanlines that lay underneath. Pond had brought the Australian weather with them. Hailing from Perth, this rambunctious outfit shares three of its members with Aussie psychedelic rockers Tame Impala and has just released its fourth album, Beards, Wives, Denim. Now they have made the journey to this little island in an attempt to colonise our ears.
After a bit of a wait as a result of the bassist “choosing an inopportune time to do a number two”, Pond entered the stage and burst into action. The most instantly notable thing about Pond’s live show is the front man, Nick Allbrook. It’s as though the god of contemporary music slammed together little pieces of every great personality in rock history and he is the result. Blessed with the dance moves of Mick Jagger (his hips, at some points, moved as though independent from the rest of his body), the slightly-too-large shirt and tousled coolness of Kurt Cobain and the endearing oddness of Thom Yorke, he made every minute of the show exciting, wrestling with the mic stand and prancing about the stage at every possible opportunity. His voice, while largely drowned out by the other instruments, had elements of Robert Plant about it, and at times could sound like Andrew VanWyngarden of MGMT. All in all, he’s the perfect psychedelic rock lead vocalist, and he deserves every drop of the praise being showered on him.
The rest of the band was just as impressive. The lead guitarist got an incredible tone out of his pair of relatively unusual guitars (a Silvertone and a Squire J. Mascis Jazzmaster, if anybody’s interested) and relentlessly pummeled the crowd with barrages of juicy, funky, bluesy riffs. Pond has a little more of a pop sound than Tame Impala, and this lends a sense of pace and fun to the show – lengthy jams are replaced by catchy hooks and riffs. Allbrook danced, the crowd danced; he jumped into the sea of people and they carried him as confetti rained from the ceiling and the band repeated the same catchy phrases. In terms of musicianship, showmanship, and pretty much everything else, this was a near-perfect performance. It felt as though it was a hometown show, and rather than just bringing the Aussie heat to Shoreditch, Pond had brought Perth.
Highlights of the set included their performances of ‘Zanman’, featuring frantic flutters of flute, ‘Betty David (Will Come Down From The Heavens To Save Us)’ which contains a genuinely classic guitar riff, and ‘You Broke My Cool’ from the new album. Pond are gathering wide acclaim for being one of the best new live bands around, and this is completely justified – this was the best gig I’d been to in a long time. Go see them.