REVIEW: Pond, The Standard 19.04.12

Did you hear that Australian psychedelic outfit POND are one of the best we’ve got on the live circuit? No? Well I’m telling you so now. And I’m right. Yes, Pond packed out Sydney’s The Standard last Thursday night. The Vines’s Craig Nicholls was even in attendance and they gave the crowd one of the top gigs of 2012 so far. Their effortless enthusiasm and Nick Allbrook’s swaggering vocals made the gig a joy to watch. An absolute joy.

So you climb about three flights of stairs to get into the grimy setting, because by the way, the entrance to The Standard is just a door on Taylor Square. The room is painted black, with a mezzanine for those of us too lazy to stand for 3-4 hours of garage goodness. You sit up their on little stools or on couches sipping on plastic cups full of pear cider and peer down at the unfortunates crowding into the room below (More on that later).

[POND cover the MC5’s Kick Out The Jams at Grimey’s Record Store in Nashville]

First up is of course Newcastle pop-punk outfit THE GOOCH PALMS. And they’ve got it. Whatever it is. They’ve supported some pretty rad bands lately, everyone from Thee Oh Sees to The 5.6.7.8’s. It’s just Kat on drums, and Leroy on guitar, switching between crooning vocals and the jagged AAAAH of a man who’s only wearing his underwear. Their stage presence cannot be denied, even if that’s because it’s so bawdy you’d be afraid to let Leroy ever meet your mother. But they are also very talented and produce their own killer brand of pop-punk awesome.

Then you’ve got THE LAURELS. I would’ve come out just to see them. I am in no small terms a very very very very big fan. I like listening to garage/shoegaze/psychedelic so much. I like it better live. And you know what else I like? People-watching. Yep. From up on the mezzanine I engaged in one of my favourite hobbies (I’m a writer, it adds to my chillingly accurate depictions of people), whilst letting garage fill my soul and force me to sway awkwardly to the music. I’ll keep it brief. I spent most of their set trying to figure out what each person at the bar was thinking whilst they tapped impatiently on the counter. And it was great. The Laurels were the soundtrack to my prying gaze.

Pond were the coup de grâce, the death blow that led me from chill swaying to passionately flinging myself to-and-fro to the sleazy psychedelic sounds. They remain my favourite Australian act out. They’re an explosion of sheer garage talent and their album, Beard, Wives, Denim is worth getting your dirty fingers on, so you can play it over and over and over and over again. It was great fun to watch Allbrook clamber and groove around stage, obviously the enigmatic crux of the quintet.
Pond rule, okay? I had fun. You should go have fun and see them also. Like say at the upcoming Splendour in the Grass festival.
Words by Hannah Story.

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Hannah’s best friend describes her writing as 'like Hunter S. Thompson, except less engaging and less good.' Her boyfriend says she’s 'a good writer, but couldn’t beat Ernest Hemingway in a fight.' Apt. If you want a healthy dose of shoegaze, look no further.