Pond, Live at Whelan’s

Remember Pond? In one of The City’s previous articles, I told you that their gig in Dublin was a must-go-to. We talked about the psychedelic dimension of the band, but here in Dublin, on the 19th of February 2015, their gig at Whelan’s was more than psychedelic: it was electrifying!

 Being accustomed to musical events in Paris, my friend and I made sure to arrive at the venue at least thirty minutes before the doors were supposed to open. We were excited. We soon realised that no one was actually queuing. In Paris, you would find the audience queuing one or two hours before the show, depending on the band’s popularity. Outside it was freezing and we were happy when the doors finally opened, even if it was thirty minutes late.

 Hurray! We’re in the front row. Hurray! It’s not packed. Wait… There is actually no one around the stage. People decided to form some kind of semi-circle in the back of the room, as if some kind of toxic smoke was emanating from the stage. A bunch of young lads soon arrived on stage, the supporting band whose name I did not catch. They appeared friendly and seemed to enjoy playing in front of a small audience. There was nothing special about them. The drum was too loud, as well as the bass, covering the singer’s voice. Meh.

 The venue started to get more and more crowded, the supporting band left, we were all waiting for Pond.

 Lights down. Audience gathering around the stage. Photographers getting ready to shoot. First musician arriving on stage. People shouting. Whelan’s WAS packed and ready to give its best. Brace yourself, Pond is going to perform. And it’s going to be mental.

 I was clearly expecting to be hypnotised by their melodies. But their live performance had more to do with the power of rock. The band started slowly with ‘Waiting Around For Grace’, which is also the first song that appears on their record Man It Feels Like Space Again. The song was immediately welcomed by the audience, and worked as an introductory song to Pond’s world.

 Nick Allbrook (guitar and vocals) already seemed to come from another planet. His eyes were struggling to remain open and his movements on stage were quite random. This is also what we like with a band like Pond: they sometimes act as if they do not know what they are about to do with their own bodies. But they actually manage to get the audience on their side. It is part of the show.

 The audience was rather enthusiastic, people started to jump around & to dance. Pond, in one song, created an immediate atmosphere of happiness through the entire venue. Their next song on the set list was ‘Elvis’ Flaming Star’ (from Man It Feels Like Space Again). It’s one of their catchiest songs, in which the rhythm gives you a kind of happiness that you can only express with your most fabulous dance moves. The gig went on and on, reaching its climax when they started ‘Giant Tortoise’ (from Hobo Rocket, 2013).

 

 On ‘Giant Tortoise’, the audience started to go crazy. They started to push each other around, two guys started moshing and one got up on another’s shoulders in order to rip off his own T-shirt. Madness. What appeared to be a bunch of friendly hipsters were actually crazy beasts who had nothing on the audiences at punk gigs. The next songs were slower, certainly, to calm down the audience a bit before letting everyone out.

 They ended the concert with ‘Midnight Mass’ (Hobo Rocket), and what a good way to end! Indeed, on record the song lasts 6.14 minutes and is divided in two parts. Until the middle of the song, you can hear vocals. But the rest remains instrumental. Which leaves the audience face to face with the music.

 

 Everyone was smiling and people started to applaud as the music got lower and lower. For the people lucky enough to be there, it certainly was a good night.

By Defné Cetin

 

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