Swimming Across the Pond: Australian Psych Rock Band, ‘Pond’ Live in Jakarta

Night was still early when we first came to the entrance of the Pallas. There were only few groups of people who were hanging around on the entryway. Few hours earlier, Sonic Live Asia as the organizer of the event along with the supporting act .Feast simultaneously posted on their social media accounts that the venue would be moved to Rossi Musik. Not much longer later though, they updated that the show would remain in The Pallas. Whatever error that happened, at least it didn’t spoil the fun that night. I wouldn’t go into details as to how we went through the night, but to sum it up, the event was nothing but pleasant.

Coming into the inside of the venue, the entrance into the inner parts of the Pallas was a small hallway adorned with dim lights on each side of the walls. All thanks to these lights, the vibe was intimate despite the spacious interior. On the inside there’s a bar in the middle, dividing the majestic room into half. People were scattering around, filling the rest of the space. We quickly stood in an area close enough to the stage to let ourselves enjoy the best view. The stage wasn’t that high, and we’d rather stand in place to guard our viewing spot than to look around and let some strangers takeover our space.

The show starts with .Feast around 9 PM. Playing as an opening act for a band as notorious as Pond sure serve as a milestone in their career as they previously stated in press conference a day before, “…it was an honor for .Feast to open the show, especially with the main highlight of the event itself, Pond, handpicked us to share the stage”. .Feast played several songs from their newest album Multiverses, as well as a cover of Ty Segall’s musical project Fuzz titled ‘21st Century Schizoid Man’.

 

.Feast on Stage

 

People were attentively nodding to the beats. Enigmatic symbols and images were seen projected onto the background of the stage; it was hypnotizing and unsettling. Kudos to .Feast for coming up with such visual concept that left quite an impression to the audience. Sectumsempra closed off their performance that night, followed by cheering crowds. Then came intermission, people once again scattered, looking for space to sit around and enjoy some drinks off the bar.

It didn’t take a while for Pond to enter the stage. People returned to their viewing spots, only this time they leaned closer to the stage. ‘3000 Megatons’ became the first track the Australian four-piece played. Nick Allbrook, stood on the left side of the stage, singing “3000 Megatons pointed at her/and him and you and me and everyone we serve”. The lyrics may seem helpless, but Allbrook sang it with such gusto. His limbs moved smoothly with such flexibility of a dancer, which makes me wonder whether he took ballet class as a child. His movements were erratic, and he sometimes put down his guitar to let himself move around easily.

Off to devastating start with song as cynic as ‘3000 Megatons’, their next song is an ode to an insecure man hoping to woo his object of affection, ‘Sweep Me off My Feet’. Most of the songs they played came from their latest album ‘The Weather’. In their repertoire they also included songs from their 2015 album ‘Man it Feels Like Space Again’, along with songs from ‘Hobo Rocket’, and ‘Psychedelic Mango Vision’.

For listeners who had only followed their recent discography, to witness these songs live became some sort of discovery. But Pond didn’t in anyway disregard or set apart their audiences based on how long you’ve been listening to them. On popular songs like ‘Elvis Flaming Star’ or ‘Paint Me Silver’, people were enthusiastically singing. While on some songs like ‘Fire in The Water’, and ‘Giant Tortoise’, I didn’t hear much singing from people around me. Which is cool, you don’t have to know each of their songs word by word to enjoy the show.

 

From Left to Right: Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson, James Ireland, Jamie Terry, Shiny Joe Ryan

 

On ‘Zen Automaton’, Nick Allbrook brought a flute to stage, and started playing improvised. As a teenager he took interest in flute, although he has never formally learned how to play it. He swung around his flute. Seeing him dancing capriciously made me clench my fist as I have this mental image of him accidentally dropped the flute, but of course it didn’t happen. His performance was over the top, especially when he walked around audience, even laying his body on the floor among the crowds, letting us taking photos of him. It was brief but intimate moment with Allbrook, as he and people around him exchanging glances and touches.

Then came the turn for Shiny Joe Ryan to take over the lime light. Joe wrote and sang ‘All I Want for Christmas is Tascam 388’. And so audience diverted their focus to the far right side of the stage where Joe stood. Pond closed their performance with ‘The Weather’. Obviously we didn’t let Pond left the stage without demanding them to return on stage and play one more song. Lights were off, it was dark and the members were leaving the stage. People kept shouting ‘we want more’, requesting encore. Then Pond came back to sing ‘Man it Feels like Space Again’. And that was the end of it.

Jakarta was the last destination in their Asia Tour, the next day they’d be catching a flight back to Perth. We surely hoped that Pond had a great time meeting their Asian fans.

Have a safe flight home, mates!

Text by Nadzifa.
Photos courtesy of Sonic Live Asia.

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