Melbourne all-girl duo Super Wild Horses needed no introduction to the sizeable crowd that came to check out the latest two-piece trying to make a name for themselves. Unlike their contemporaries, Amy Franz and Haylee McKee have one point of difference: their ability to swap from vocals and guitar to drums allows flexibility in their songwriting and diversity in their live performance, which is what we saw on Sunday night. Despite the gap between changeover, which was a bit of a buzz killer, Super Wild Horses delivered on entertainment and energy. They closed their short but sharp set with Waikiki Romance, and while the crowd had handed over their hard-earned to see Pond, they showed their appreciation with a well-deserved applause.
Having outgrown their previous live haunts such as Phoenix Public House and the Northcote Social Club, Pond moved on to Richmond’s Corner Hotel, which, as per recent patterns, duly sold out. With foreign press drooling all over the Perth lads, it’s of no surprise to those who have seen them live before that word is well and truly out: Pond are one of the hottest Australian acts on the live circuit at the moment. From the opening guitars of Leisure Pony from their 2012 album Beards, Wives, Denim, Pond brought back 70’s style super riffs into 2012 like that half a century hadn’t even existed. And who was to complain? Eye Pattern Blindness and Fantastic Explosion of Time followed suit, with Jay Watson leading the sonic riffage and Nick Allbrook striking Syd Barret-like resemblances throughout. Their musicianship was highlighted by constant rotations of band members on differing instruments, the only constant being Cameron Avery thumping tirelessly in the background while the merry-go-round up the front churned out some of the most bombastic tunes this side of Woodstock.
New material was given a generous smattering too, with Million Head Collide being one of their loudest moments to date, while Alone, A Flame, A Flower merged in seamlessly with the rest of the back catalogue. Slower moments such as When it Explodes and You Broke My Cool broke up the monstrous rock songs, while Moth Wings‘ thick and groovy bass notes were almost tangible, and with Allbrooks’s high pitched vocals, their most recognisable song was stamped with authority.
It must be noted how much the live setting accentuated Pond’s sound. The mid-song extensions enabled delicate and hazy jamming to the rawness of the over-the top-riffage that was almost non stop throughout the night. Annie Orangetree, from the Frond album, appeased fans of their earlier material. But perhaps the show stealer was the set closer, and another new song in Giant Tortoise, which contains probably the biggest riff of the summer, if it indeed sees a release prior to when the sun starts to shine brightest. As unexpected as it could possibly be that something you’ve never heard before could match, then better, some of the already monstrous songs that had been given airings Sunday night, it truly did. Something akin to Jack White’s work on Icky Thump would be comparable. Watch this space. Remember the song.
The encore that never was, that actually was, saw Betty Davis given a good old thrashing before the night drew to a close. Such a raucous night of music held no dull moments and no lowlights. Trajectory and momentum are such important facets when a band has been hyped to the hilt as Pond have been. Pond are riding that wave and things have been pointing in the right direction for some time, and with performances like this, they may just overtake that other Perth band that have been making the same waves, just a few years further down the track.