Truth be told, my first impression of POND was that they’re some sort of alternate-universe MGMT if something were to have gone cringefully wrong early in their career. To me, they were missing something – the hyper-catchy melodies and stellar chord phrases that I’ve come to expect from the latter. I just could not shake this toxic point of view. But last night, the Perth-based Tame Impala offshoot blew me away. What was going on inside Union Transfer that I hadn’t been hearing on POND’s records?
For starters, front man Nick Allbrook was glittered up like a pixie and bore a tremendously energetic stage presence, which kept the heads of those of us who stood front and center on a constant and erratic swivel. Aside from the relatively unimportant, albeit entertaining, visual aesthetic, the band’s sound was crystal-effing-clear. I had forgotten to bring my high-fidelity earplugs to the show, but was pleased to hear POND’s volume at a level that, for their genre, I would describe as perfect. The mix was crisp as hell; every instrument was at just the right level, wonderfully articulate. Hats off to the sound tech. Seriously.
Notable moments: Bassist Jay Watson took a moment between songs to verify with Philly the pronunciation of “Yuengling” as he held up his bottle, and then shared his liking for the oldest beer in America. (He got the pronunciation right.) An audience member then tossed his Yuengling cap to Jay, who wore the hat for the duration of the next song, until throwing it back to the owner. Shiny Joe Ryan pointed out that Jay is the funny one in the band. At the end of the encore, Nick and Shiny Joe peeled their setlists off the floor and handed them to the audience. I kindly snapped a picture of Nick’s list before the recipient next to me ran off, starstruck, into the night. — KYLE WEINSTEIN