Live Review: Pond

27 September 2012 | 4:30 pm | Wes Holland

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Pond are an interesting band. There's something about them that's hard to put your finger on. Yes, they're from Perth. All of the members are in other bands. All their songs have silly titles. But who are they really? What records do they listen to? Do they have girlfriends? How did they end up here?

Tonight's show at the Corner has been long sold out. The back of the crowd is guarded by a wall of tall men wearing dark jackets, and the middle of the room is filled with über-enthusiastic kids just waiting for the right moment to get their rocks off. It's the perfect set up.

They open with Leisure Pony, a cut from their latest record Beard, Wives, Denim and it sounds big. Nick Allbrook (who seems to change his haircut every time he comes to Melbourne) prances around the stage like a ballerina – ducking, diving and weaving. Meanwhile, one of Australia's best drummers, Jay Watson, plays guitar and sings for Pond. Turns out he's actually pretty good at that too. Fantastic Explosion Of Time is probably Pond's best song and the swirling light show they play in front of looks magnificent; the way the light hits the back of the room as it shines in between the venue's pillars and aforementioned wall of men is incredible. You also get the impression that every song they play is performed slightly differently. It's unpredictable and exciting.

Another impressive thing about this band is the actual amount of material they have. Beard... is their fourth album in four years, which is pretty remarkable considering Allbrook actually mentions from the stage that these guys “have no time to practise!” They even perform a bunch of brand new songs, the best of which is Whatever Happened To The Million Head Collide?? – a Bo Diddley drum beat is the driving force behind the track that builds to a huge jammy instrumental crescendo as Allbrook works the keyboards like no one's business. The old material sounds great too; Annie Orangetree is definitely their go-to crowd pleaser. There's kids crowd surfing, shirts coming off, dancing onstage (note: it must be a great feeling to see attractive women sitting on shoulders screaming your songs back at you). Watson sings lead on Giant Tortoise – a Sabbath-esque, seven-minute epic driven by a two-note bassline and feedback-drenched guitars. It's definitely a party atmosphere in here, And on a Sunday night? Unheard of!

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Any band that doesn't play an encore deserves recognition. There's nothing more refreshing. Allbrook announces, “If we were to play an encore, this'd be it.” Right on. Set closer Betty Davis (Will Come Down From The Heavens To Save Us) is beautifully chaotic. It's loose, but again has this energy that is usually pretty hard to capture. And with that, it's over. A short, furious gig that leaves the audience with wide smiles and ringing ears.

Pond are a top band. Their songs are crafted in a way that allows them to be taken anywhere. There's something rather special about being at their shows and not really knowing what's going to happen or how the gig will play out. Or what colour hair their lead singer will have. See you next time.