Photo galleries by Damien Crocker
He spreads his arms like an eagle gliding at a thousand feet, soaring across the stage with the conviction of a rocker but with the grace of a ballerina. Like a commander in chief or a cult leader, he cast a spell onto the crowd, many of whom draped in their fanfare attire, proudly displaying “POND” across their chest. There’s an air of optimism brewing tonight: “Hope Biden wins”, he says, to which the crowd replies with the chant of “Fuck Trump”, endorsing the blue wave from across the Pacific. He then tilts his torso backwards to almost ninety degrees, defying gravity on his way to winning in the game of limbo, before resurrecting upright and looking imperious with hands curled, wrist resting on hips. He caresses his hair to the screams of the fans, before jumping onto the crowd barrier…
If Mick Jagger and Jim Morrison had a love child, Nick Allbrook would be him.
If Mick Jagger and Jim Morrison had a love child, Nick Allbrook would be him. There is something savvy — imbuing the delicate but raw sex appeal and bravado — about POND’s lead vocalist that oozes the enigma of the two legends. Based in Perth, POND is described as a psychedelic rock/pop band, blending with glam rock and funk…and “Neo-psychedelia”, and the honesty of the band’s DNA shone on this night.
Most of their fans associate POND with Tame Impala. Jay Watson is in both bands, who also records his solo materials under the pseudonym GUM. Allbrook left Tame Impala in 2013 to focus on POND and his solo career. Moreover, the entirety of Tame Impala is comprised of former members of POND. A family tree highlighting the bloodline would have POND residing at the canopy.
The night kicked off with the Electronic Producer BEXX. Relatively new to the scene, she delivered a colourful and visual spectacular, showcasing the heavy bassline that sips with electronic production, while melting the dreamy and gospel like vocals over the sweet sounds.
Peter Bibby, who has been around since the early part of the last decade carried the baton of spectacle as the next support act. Showcasing songs from three albums, there was no doubt this artist has a rock cult thanks to some of the grittiest and no holds barred live entertainment out of Perth.
POND’s setlist was sparked by ‘Hand Mouth Dancer’, a futuristic’esq synth track from their eight studio and latest album, Tasmania, released in March 2019, and later taking their fans to the title track ‘Tasmania’, feasting on the kaleidoscopic mood under the forlorn lights. Allbrook’s teasing vocals glides smoothly throughout the song, gradually building to a climax in the bridge, I wanna breathe / I wanna breathe real air again, resonating the urgency needed as our sick climate takes another dive towards the point of no return.
‘Burnt Out Star’ is one of the trippiest tracks from Tasmania, sparking excitement in the crowd. The track that blew the roof off was ‘Paint Me Silver’ from the album Weather, which includes some of the baddest synthesisers, and that Prince-like falsetto at the intro. With over twenty-five million livestreams, this track is their anthem, the most recognisable of POND’s catalogue.
‘Giant Tortoise’, the penultimate song from the album Hobo Rocket was another cracker, as the night got trippier with some of most twisted guitar riffs by Shiny Joe Ryan and heavy drums by James Ireland from end to end, culminating into an incantation like vocals riding on the heaviest synths.
POND took their fans on a cosmic journey, a spellbinder that made the night one of the most significant Perth shows in the COVID era, thanks to their soaring synths, glistering guitars, drums, solid baseline, keyboards — where every musician played a part — and like a well-oiled pistons, they revved the mood in the engine room of Nick Allbrook to the redline of euphoria.