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Pond – The Wardrobe, Leeds (June 17th 2017)

Following the successful launch of their seventh studio album ‘The Weather’, Perth-based psych crusaders Pond are currently playing a handful of dates around the UK. This is the last leg of their recent international tour supporting The Weather following several dates throughout North America & Central Europe. A venue change meant that the band would perform at The Wardrobe, instead of initial venue Leeds University Stylus.

Before Pond took to the stage however, fellow Perth art rockers Methyl Ethel opened with a thirty-minute set. Consisting of Jake Webb, Thom Stewart and Chris Wright, the trio released their sophomore record ‘Everything Is Forgotten’ earlier this year to widespread praise. A combination of introspective dream-pop and upbeat psych fared well to pave the way for the headliners, if indeed Pond’s performance outshined theirs in every way imaginable.

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Taking to the stage around 8:45pm, Pond were met with rapturous applause and cheers from a packed flooring area, with the band looking genuinely enthralled to be on the stage with their fans. Pond opened with ’30,000 Megatons’, the first cut from the band’s most recent record The Weather, which showcased frontman Nick Allbrook’s impressive range and searing vocals, as Jamie Terry pounded away with heady synths.

It didn’t take long for Pond to get the crowd jiving as they recited ‘Elvis’ Flaming Star’ from 2015’s ‘Man It Feels Like Space Again’, with its disco bassline and breezy keyboards. Similarly, ‘Waiting Around for Grace’ was another fan favourite, with Allbrook’s screams not failing to get a buzzing reaction from the crowd.

Pond stepped up the intensity with the giant ‘Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide?’ from 2013’s ‘Hobo Rocket’. The band descended into fuzzy oblivion with the track’s sublime riffing sections, prompting the first pit of the night and a slew of crowd surfers.

It’s impossible to attend a Pond gig and not take note of Allbrook’s wacky showmanship and charisma. Multiple times he entered the crowd with his microphone, surf the crowds and dance with audience members. ‘Sweep Me off My Feet’ was next-up in the set and despite only being out in the wild for a few months has certainly become a staple cut for their shows.

Pond treated their hardcore supporters to a cut from their 2009 debut ‘Psychedelic Mango’ in the shape of ‘Don’t Look at the Sun or You’ll Go Blind’, a scuzzy lo-fi psych number. Bassist Jay Watson took lead vocal duties for downtempo ballad ‘Sitting Up on Our Crane’, a short respite from a high-energy set which spawned some swaying arms nonetheless.

Perhaps one of the most tongue-in-cheek moments of the evening was the crowd chanting “YORKSHIRE! YORKSHIRE! YORKSHIRE!” every few songs, which did culminate in back-and-forth banter between the band and fans, as well as an exclusive instrumental jam to match the chants of the Leeds lot.

Summer in a song, ‘Paint Me Silver’ was up next with its dreamy synths and overall happy vibes. Approaching the close of the set, Pond pulled out their big guns with ‘Giant Tortoise’, another huge cut centred around heavily distorted grooves that surely got the crowd going again. ‘Man It Feels Like Space Again’ closed the regular set, its eight-minute runtime featured one of the band’s best psyched-out jams as they left the stage in a cyclone of deafening distorted feedback.

“WE WANT MORE!” the crowd pleaded and of course, Pond returned to the stage once more to bust out two more tracks. The band proceeded to play ‘You Broke My Cool’ from 2012’s ‘Beard, Wives, Denim’, stimulating fans to singalong with the soulful chorus. Pond finally closed their twelve-song set with The Weather’s title track, as Allbrook softly crooned with the highly melodic instrumentation behind him. After gleefully thanking concert goers for making the night happen for them, the band members left the stage to great applause and cheers once again.

Pond are certainly an act that embrace live shows through raw energy and passion for playing to an audience. Allbrook remains the star of the show with his bundles of charisma and wacky persona.

Pond finish up their tour with shows at Glasgow’s Art School, Manchester’s Gorilla and Bristol’s Thekla taking place over the next few days.

19 June: The Art School, Glasgow

20 June: Gorilla, Manchester

21 June: Thekla, Bristol (sold out)