Live Review: Pond + Doctopus – Metro Theatre, Sydney (20.12.13)

Pond has built themselves a reputation as one of Australia’s top live acts, and it’s not hard to see why, delivering a whole lot of noise on par with the depth of the album recordings.

Support band Doctopus did a good job of warming up the crowd – with plenty of electric guitar, stage banter and garage attitude. Front man Stepen Bellair threw around his messy Kiedis hair while playing guitar on his back, moving around stage and hollering at the audience: “Byron was chill but Sydney, you guys are ready to party!” By the time they played their final song ‘I don’t wanna be here anymore’ the mood in the room was getting manic.

And then Pond took to the stage. Immediately the crowd released any pent up frustration at waiting (the band was only about ten minutes late) and it evolved into one big mess. This lasted right up until the end of their performance when the setlist (a scrap of paper) was thrown into the crowd causing a rupture not unlike seagulls chasing thrown chips. But while disruptive, everyone there was very familiar with the Pond catalogue and was singing along (even to Nick’s intermittent screams).

Nick Allbrook takes on his role as front man passionately – dancing in between vocals, walking (bravely!) right up to the barrier for ferocious grabbing by the crowd and connecting his craft entirely to the audience. While there was a whole lot of crazy going on, Allbrook remained in control.

Keeping the crowd in check meant playing a mix of popular singles, old favourites and slower tracks. The second song up was ‘Xanman’ off their latest album Hobo Rocket and showed already that the best part of seeing Pond live is when their instrumental jams are brought to the fore. Later, they played “O Dharma” and the mood hung heavy as layers of instrumentals developed into a trance.

For the encore there were about 20 people on stage, friends and crew jumping on stage to dance together, shake tambourines and create a general ruckus. Doctopus returned and Bellair took it upon himself to crowd surf before putting Allbrook – who was playing the flute – on his shoulders for a final triumphant hurrah.