21st June | Thekla
Descending on Bristol for the last show of their UK tour, POND really rocked the boat (get it?) at Thekla on Wednesday night. Blasting the audience with a selection of hits and new classics from their album The Weather, the boys from down under made sure to not disappoint.
Opening the set with 30,000 megatons, the audience erupted into a flurry of crowd surfers, sweat-soaked dancing and general trippy debauchery. It soon became apparent that the bad was totally in their element. Frontman Nick projected himself across the crowd as he chanted the lyrics to their newest psych-rock hit.
They made sure to tap into some of their older hits, from Man It Feels Like Space Again, to Waiting Around for Grace and Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide. Then back to the newer stuff. The floor shook as Jay kicked in with the synth for the instantly recognizable Sweep Me Off My Feet, once the chorus hit, arms were flung in the air as the crowd cried along in unison.
Jumping back into the world of Psychedelic Mango, Don’t Look at the Sun or You’ll Go Blind was met with rapturous applause, and the sweat-fuelled moshing reached its climax. Then back to The Weather, with Paint Me Silver mellowing the mood and offering a moment of blissful reflection.
Giant Tortoise was a favourite moment, from the euphoric synths to the mighty guitar ripping through the chorus. Arms (and people) were thrown into the air, as the lights blazed down upon them.
Onto the encore, the band gifted their dedicated fan base with the heart wrenching You Broke My Cool from 2012’s Beard, Wives, Demin, sounding just as fresh as ever. And to close it all off, a new classic, the title track of their newest album, The Weather.
Another personal highlight was after the show itself, as the space cleared out, guitarist Joe Ryan came outside with a drink, sitting to have a cigarette and a chat with all the fans. He spoke about his work as a projectionist with Tame Impala, gave advice to the aspiring musicians he found himself speaking to and proved himself to be a humble and all-around well-mannered Australian bloke. It was also refreshing to see him help the roadies load the vans up and jokingly tell stories about his life in Perth.
Supported by Methyl Ethel, another Perth-based art rock band, who warmed up the crowd nicely, the gig itself felt like a family gathering of likeminded Aussie-psych fans. Each person left the venue drenched in sweat with a smile plastered on their face after dancing away to kaleidoscopic beats and throwing themselves into the music. The Australian four-piece themselves sounded tighter than ever, with a good connection. Their diverse set of both old and new favourites flowed well, and never felt disjointed or detached. It was exactly what any POND fan would want to experience. They were connected to the audience, and it wasn’t just because of the intimate venue.