BEING THERE: Bardo Pond @ Johnny Brenda’s

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For a Boston indie kid from the ’90s like myself, Friday’s Bardo Pond/Major Stars show at Johnny Brenda’s was like a stroll down the proverbial memory lane. I used to walk into Twisted Village record store to check out the most obscure music I could find. Sometime around 1996 upon hearing that the owners of this eclectic record store in Harvard Sq were in a band called the Major Stars, I just had to go check them out. In the 20 years that have passed since seeing that show I can’t recall a more powerful live set from this super heavy psych rock outfit.Flash forward to present day. I catch wind that my neighbor’s band Honey Radar is opening for Major Stars and Philly’s own legendary Bardo Pond, another psych rock band I’ve been following for over two decades. Having missed so many Bardo Pond shows in the past that I’d swear I was cursed, I vowed not to miss this one. Now having finally seen but more importantly experienced in person the sludgy psychotropic haze that Bardo Pond emits from the stage, I can finally consider myself a true Philadelphian.Prior to the show I knew little or nothing about Henry Owings of the Chunklet zine and now label. He’s been a music journalist, promoted over 1000 shows, released recorded, designed albums and posters by some of everyone’s favorite obscure indie rock bands. Henry now graces crowds with his One Second Band Impersonations which he does to introduce each band on this tour. Henry is the architect of this mini tour with Bardo Pond, Magic Hour and Fishtown rockers Honey Radar who have a lo-fi minimalist subtle-yet-slightly-dirty rock sound which made for a perfect opener to the other bands. To accompany these shows Chunklet in collaboration with Third Uncle records released a limited edition split 7” with Bardo Pond and Major Stars. Having not seen Bardo Pond enough to compare them to other performances I do have to say they blew me away to a degree well beyond expectations. Towards the end of their mesmerizing set Isobel Sollenberger, singer and flutist said it best that “this has been such a beautiful night” and indeed it was. — MARK LIKOSKY