Live Gallery: Pond at Altar, Hobart with 208L Containers, 15.06.2024

Feature Photograph: Arun Kendall

Like a patient etherised on a table, prior to the iconic Dark Mofo Festival it has been alleged that winter in Hobart showed little signs of life, with only a discernible pulse. And to push the analogy more than is strictly necessary – this year, Dark Mofo was undergoing restorative surgery – it was not quite in rude pre-COVID health, but hopefully not in palliative care. There was a reduced musical programme and a little less of a hedonistic carnival atmosphere. And yet the night on Saturday across Hobart was filled with an excess of musical brilliance – from Genesis Owusu as part of the Festival at the Odeon Theatre, the brilliant rising band Hooper Crescent from Melbourne playing with the magnificent EWAH and the Vision of Paradise at the celebrated Republic Bar and Western Australian legends Pond, supported by local band 208L Containers, at Altar, where your fearless reviewer ventured.

Opening act, 208L Containers have been garnering quite a reputation for their firebrand delivery of acrobatic punk, and their performance was magnificent before a highly appreciative and engaged crowd. Like fellow locals A. Swayze and the Ghosts, Luca Brasi and Verticoli, there is a native form of lutruwita punk that has a unique sound – abrasive yet intelligent, laced with humour and a self-deprecating air. 208L Containers were highly entertaining – an acrobatic and enigmatic lead singer Richie Cuskelly loaded with charisma led the charge supported by a passionate, energetic band. The music was not a homogenous blast of predictable punk – there were moments of pure pop brilliance and an endearing vaguely chaotic approach.

With a new album on the way and a couple of brilliant single in advance, Pond provided an additional debribulator that brought even more joy to a venue that I have never seen so packed and animated. Pond are a difficult band to categorise – psychedelic, grungy and funky that live, packed a veritable stunning punch. Singer, former Tame Impala member and a constant star in the band’s firmament, Nicholas Allbrook is a complete and certified (and possibly certifiable) rock star – gurning, twisting, prancing his way across stage with an incredible presence and energy. It was a stunning performance – one of the most thrilling I’ve witnessed in a while.

The band covered a few new songs from the new album (including the infectious title track) which effortlessly blended in with their older more familiar material. This is a band that is even more exciting live than on record: visceral, entertaining and committed. It was a privilege to see them at such a small and intimate venue.

 Pond’s forthcoming tenth studio album ‘Stung!’ is out Friday 21 June via Spinning Top Records. You can (and should) catch them on the rest of their Australian tour (see details below).  Tickets on sale now at here.

The band has also announced an extensive North American album tour with support from the brilliant New Zealand musician, Fazerdaze. Starting in Boston on 12 November and making stops in Brooklyn, Philadelphia, DC, Toronto, San Francisco, LA and more. This follows a fifteen-date run of UK/Europe throughout September and October. All tour dates and ticket details can be found here.  has

Feature Photograph and Gallery: Arun Kendall

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