Soup Kitchen, Manchester, Saturday 26 May 2012
Wow.... There's not really a lot else to say about this gig and I have to fill a page. This Aussie band have put out a fabulous album, Beards, Wives, Denim, filled with their crazy, shambolic psych-rock sounds, and boy do their live shows convey it to the highest degree.
From the minute they start, Pond have the audience eating out of the palm of their hands. A typically old-fashioned psych band, they spend about an hour and a half cavorting around the stage in their jumble sale mix of outfits like they're posessed. Saying that, they might have a little help, chemically so-to-speak. You could kinda guess by the end of the show, considering the amount of face-pulling during guitar solos (NB: Neither we or the band, as they said on stage, condone the use of illegal substances).
From the laid-back and trippy sounds of 'Eye Pattern Blindness' to the raucous album opener 'Fantastic Explosion in Time', which really is an explosion, Pond are at one with the crowd for every intense nerve-wracking moment of the set. There doesn't seem to be a person in the room who wasn't totally engaged. The excitement is visible as you look around at people's face, and with singer Nick Allbrook (also of Tame Impala) throwing himself off stage at every given opportunity, there isn't much missing out of this show from the list of rock 'n' roll 'dos and dont's'.
Heads bob along to 'Elegant Design' and he's off again, getting encouragement from other band members and not a complaint from the crowd. Even when he hits the floor with a thud, he's straight back on stage for more flute playing in a way even Jethro Tull would be envious of. It's one of those gigs where your heart beats in anticipation, your eyes don't move from the stage for fear of missing something, and there isn't a note out of place. Despite the aforementioned dalliance with whatever-you-call-it.
Coming back on stage for the statutory encore, they quite pointedly make a big "thank you" to the venue staff and the promoter, and it has to be said this place has been spot on for such a show. Pond are a must-see, but get your guns out in case Nick throws himself again - he's got quite a reach.