Dive Head First Into Pond’s Psych-rock Set At Sydney’s Metro Theatre
By Marjie Saunders
If you have listened to Pond but haven’t had the opportunity to see them live yet – strap yourself in for this rocket of psych-pop-jams. Perth-based psych-rockers Pond step out on stage to a raucous and adoring crowd. The gang led by Tame Impala’s bassist Nick Allbrook, take to their instruments as they jump into their first song ‘America’s Cup’ off their ninth studio album, aptly titled ‘9’. Released last year in 2021 their album ‘9’ is amalgamation of pulsating psychedelia and garage rock, sounds crazy right?! Nothing’s off the cards when Pond is concerned.
In this moment Nick Allbrook is giving us Freddie Mercury vibes on stage as he saunters around with a dazzling energy in total contrast to his voice, which tonight has a growl and shrillness to it. I feel almost hypnotized by the performance as ‘Human Touch’ starts to play and Jay Watson loops his keyboard to form the pulsating backbeat.
Having fun on stage Nick sticks his tongue out playfully to the crowd in the middle of ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’. Known for their experimental style, tonight Pond is giving the kind of ear-bending glam rock that just makes you want to bang your head and jump around. “In case you hadn’t noticed I’m going to need you all to sing, alot!” Nick proclaims, as he jumps down from the stage and mingles with those at the front of the crowd.
Their song ‘Tasmania’ provides a nice break from the heavier rock sounds with its orchestral intro from their 2019 album of the same name. Speaking with NME Nick said the song came about after chatting to an environmental scientist. “He showed me this temperature projection of the next hundred years in Australia,’ Nick told NME, “and it basically just goes gradually more and more red and purple, and then into unliveable territory. The last inhabitable space is Tasmania”.
As his voice fails him Nick hands the mic to a fan in the front row of the crowd who does an amazing job at singing a full verse and chorus of ‘Burnt Out Star’. The eight minute song draws you in with ambient tones before it becomes a drum-heavy, synthy scenescape.
Kirin J Callahan who you might recognise from Mercy Arms, courtesies in his high fluro pink kilt as he joins the stage to perform ‘Paint Me Silver’. Nick welcomes him with open arms before Kirin beckons him to jump on his shoulders. How they can keep their composure enough to keep singing whilst having so much fun I’ll never know.
Pond launches into ‘Lights of Leeming’ with gusto from James on drums. The audience responds in kind by headbanging and jumping along. Their song ‘Pink Lunettes’ cuts through the rock energy with its modulated sequence and 80’s disco sound.
As ‘The Weather’ plays, I see someone in the crowd stand up on their friends’ shoulders. Nick acknowledges the feat as he sings with a cheeky grin. Pop-rock ‘Moth Wings Medley’ follows with its wailing guitar riffs. I don’t know who is having more fun at this point – Nick on his knees jamming with his guitar, Jay Watson on keyboard headbanging along next to him or the screaming and dancing crowd.
James Ireland on drums counts the rest of the guys into ‘Take Me Avalon I’m Young’, I’ve always thought this song is their most Bowie-esque. Nick is a born frontman, feeding this crowd his manic, ecstatic and explosive energy throughout this set.
A fleeting touch of Nick’s raw emotion comes through as he sings “Thank you, darling, for these silver gelatin echoes of me, With you smiling like he has to for the cause, for the tribe, For the boys, for the lie” in the bands arguably most recognisable song ‘Daisy’. Good thing I know that this song absolutely slaps when it gets to the chorus.
Everyone is jumping in unison.
Pond finish off the night with ‘Toast’ off their new album playing an encore with ‘Don’t Look At The Sun’. Chaotic and playful is the best way I can describe this set – honestly, I’d expect nothing less from a Pond performance.