About a week before this gig I was playing Pond’s new album The Weather in the car with my Dad. His exact words were, “what the hell is this weird shit, it’s making me uncomfortable.” Rude. Dad prefers the inhuman screeching of Jimmy Barns, but each to their own. Pond are certainly experimental and undeniably weird, but that’s exactly why I can’t get enough of them.
This is probably a huge call, but Fremantle Prison is hands down the best venue I’ve ever been too. Seriously, see someone, anyone you can there it’ll blow your mind. We entered the prison through the old limestone façade which is, to put it simply, the most glorious entrance to a venue you could ask for. Our bags are checked which seems ironic since we are voluntarily entering a jail. As soon as we’re through my friend instantly gets mistaken for Kevin Parker. This literally happens all the time and at a Pond gig certainly more so. He gets a free cigarette out of it and the night continues.
Pond was the perfect fit for this unique venue, with just the right amount of people filling up the prison yard. Some of my friends genuinely thought the gig would be inside the prison, like in the cafeteria or the cells. Unbelievable. Despite the rumours that Fremantle Prison is haunted and the fact that clown sightings are at an all-time high, it was far less eerie than you’d think. When you enter the venue you can see the cells above you, as well as the guard towers. Combine this with Pond’s glowing rainbow coloured visual projections and it ended up being nothing less than an absolutely magical evening. Prison gets such a bad rap.
Speaking of bad rap, Reef Prince was one of the supports for the night and he is just a treat to see live. Normally the hard rocking front-man of locals Doctopus, Stephen’s solo venture was such a fun way to start the night. He opened for Methyl Ethyl last month so he’s certainly on the radar for Perth bands to get people in the mood to party. Body Type are next, an all-babe indie pop foursome from Sydney. Their t-shirt at the merch stand was all kinds of cool, and yes there were body parts.
Pond started at 8.25pm which is a crazy early time that I can only surmise has something to do with the noise complaints or licensing laws of the venue. So typical of a prison to demand an early lights out. Pond open with ‘30000 Megatons’, which is also the opening song on The Weather. Straight after is ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’ which is such a beautiful song about being desperate to find that perfect someone to, you know, ruin your life. ‘Elvis’ Flaming Star’ and ‘Waiting Around For Grace’ from Man It Feels Like Space Again follow quickly after.
There’s not a whole lot of crowd banter, the Perth boys just seem like they’re playing one long jam with barely any breaks between songs. Their best was ‘Paint Me Silver’ (this is my favourite song on the new album and also the one Dad referred to as ‘weird shit’) and old favourite ‘Giant Tortoise’ which in my opinion is one of the best riffs to come out of Perth. It was a psychedelic feast for the eyes and ears, as every decent psych rock gig should be.
It felt like I’d only been there ten minutes when Nicholas Allbrook thanked the crowd for the best night ever – and it really was. Pond always deliver, but the venue and the weather (the album and actual thing) made this particular performance one of their best. If you ever get the chance to see Pond live, do see them in a World Heritage listed former prison, if at all possible. Or an operational one, don’t limit yourself – it’s guaranteed to be a riot.