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Archive for the ‘Pond’ Category

[ATTENDED: May 29, 2018] Pond

Pond was supposed to play here back in January. But because of our corrupt leader’s immigration policies, they couldn’t get visas in time.  They had to postpone the tour.  Luckily they made it back in May and the opener, Fascinator, remained the same.

I didn’t really know Pond all that well, but I knew they were connected to Tame Impala and that was a good thing. So I listened to a few songs, decided they were pretty good and decided to see them live.

Well, apparently they have a massive fan base because the crowd behind me (I was pretty close to the stage) was berserk for the band, especially singer Nick Allbrook who was a bundle of energy.

When they came out the crowd freaked out and there was much shrieking and yelling behind me.  Nonplussed by the yells, the band started with “30,000 Megatons” the outstanding first track off of their new album The Weather. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: May 29, 2018] Fascinator

Fascinator is Australia’s Johnny Mackay he was the frontman of Children Collide, an alt-rock outfit, but he was always experimenting with electronic music so he created Fascinator as a side project. Then he moved to New York and Fascinator became his main project.

I have to admit that when I first looked up Fascaintor, and read stories like this: he’s turned Fascinator live shows into something wild, whimsical, and theatrical, employing masks, costumes and a rotating cast of backing performers (from The Sydney Morning Herald), I had high hopes for a wild show.

I mean, here’s a quote from the man himself:

“There’s this character I’ve created, this cosmic shaman from space, Lord Fascinator, who comes down and visits Earth and shows people the magical melodies he’s created,” Mackay says. “I often perform behind a mask, and sometimes I’ll have 13 people on stage, all wearing matching masks and kaftans.”

Well, Fascinator wasn’t all that wild.  Lord Fascinator came out with long blond hair and sunglasses wearing a white kaftan, cloth pants (a very different all-white from Andrew W.k.) and interesting shoes.

He has also said

“For a while I had an ‘air instruments only’ policy. I’d be making all the music, but I’d have an air guitarist, air drummer, air whatever. We played this show at the Bowery Ballroom, supporting Pond. And there was this guy in the audience cracking the shits about it. He was yelling out ‘You’re not even playing real instruments!’ It was like ‘um, yeah, we know’.

For our show Lord Fascinator had one accompanist, Lord Decorator.  Lord Decorator did not play air instruments, he played oud and hand drums and violin.  He dd not wear a mask although he did wear a kaftan.

Fascinator came out with his white guitar and a little electronic contraption.  He started a beat, manipulated the pitch, created some kind of sounds (I don’t know if everything eh made was live or not), played some cool trippy guitar and sang.

Essentially that’s what he did for 45 minutes.  There were many tempo changes and presumably many different songs.  Lord Decorator changed instruments constantly and it was clear that one song was ending and a new one was starting–Lord Fascinator often changed the drum beat to a new tempo, but he never stopped the flow of th emusic while changing things up.

What was quite fun was when he brought out his old Casio DG-20 which he played for almost all of the rest of the set.  I had never seen one in the wild before so that was really fun. The sounds weren’t quite as crazy as I assumed they’d be, but I i did see him change the programming  bunch of chimes (lift the guitar into the light to see what the buttons are, push something, move on).

Basically the set was about 45 minute of psychedelically, vaguely Middle Eastern music.  It was largely dancey–the guys behind me were a pool of sweat from dancing so much–but with some really cool sounds and effects and accompaniment.

So it wasn’t the wild mask-covered air guitar show that I imagined, but it was certainly an enjoyable set.  He has a new album out, i wonder if as a headliner he tends to go all out with the costumery.

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[NOT ATTENDED: January 12, 2018] Fascinator/Pond


I bought a ticket for this show yesterday.  Although I knew that the tour was postponed because of this message sent out on January 9:

Dear folks of the USA, we have bad news. Unfortunately the winter tour due to start this week is gonna be postponed due to visa issues. It’s nothing too serious, but the long processing time means we’ll have to wait… but we’ll DEFINITELY be seeing you soon! Believe me, we were all so stoked to come play for y’all – and lap up the good stuff in yr beautiful country that’s inspired us with so much art and music and literature and nature and food and good times – but alas… This hurts us, and we promise to come back, when we’re allowed, and spread the good stuff and share in yours and make up for lost time. We miss you. Until later in 2018, Good luck and good love, Pond.

It was actually the hubbub of the postponement that inspired me to get tickets.
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walrusjulySOUNDTRACK: POND-“Giant Tortoise” (2013).

pondWhen I first listened to this song I wasn’t all that excited by it.  In part I’ll admit it’s because I was listening with only one earbud (a work hazard).  When I was finally able to listen with both earbuds, the song grew exponentially, turning it from a kind of mundane classic rocker into a trippy psychedelic classic rocker.

There’s not much strikingly original about this song–the sound is totally retro, the riffs are pretty simple, even the recording technique is nothing all that exciting.  And yet when you put it all together in this big soundscape, the song is much more than the sum of its parts.

The guitars are big and expansive like their native Australia, the vocals are soft and processed, and the ending instrumental section is very trippy.  Oh, and three of the members of Pond are also in Tame Impala.  Not a bad side project at all.

[READ: July 15, 2013] “When We Went Against the Universe”

In this story, two girls play a game in which they ask the universe questions and do whatever the universe dictates.  The game, which they call Fate Papers, is very simple.  They take two scraps of paper and write Yes on one and No on the other.  One of the girls holds out her hands and lets the scraps drop.  Whichever lands first is what they do.  And they never go against the universe.

The girls live in Mississauga (which they call Misery Saga) and they have done everything that young teens can do that summer–they’ve eaten all the snacks, hung out at all the places, even talked about everything they could ever want to talk about.

The girls go to McDonald’s and get McFlurrys.  When they are about to leave, Mel, the more daring of the two, says that the three businessmen sitting at the other table were checking her out.  She says she has been emanating sex all day and these men responded.  And so Mel proposes that they should offer to suck off the men for money–at least $50 each.  The narrator goes along assuming that nothing will come of it.  But Mel is serious.  She imagines just how much they could get from each of them (even more because they are virgins).  And she drags the narrator to the bathroom so they can make sure they look good and to see if they guys checked them out as they walked past.

When the narrator realizes that Mel is serious, she says it’s time to do Fate Papers.  The papers say Yes. (more…)

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