FeaturesWritten by Laura English on November 15, 2019
It’s been just one week since POND shared Sessions with us. It’s a live album that comprises a bunch of performances from their European tour earlier this year and features a range of tracks from their huge discography.
Sessions followed up Tasmania – the band’s eighth studio album which was produced and mixed alongside Kevon Parker and was also released this year, back in March.
The Sessions release was prompted by the band’s desire to capture their own sound while in the midst of a long tour. “As you play the same song for years, or even as a single tour rolls on, the way you play the songs mutates. Little inflections and fills become part of the song, and the structures and even the overall feeling and intent of the songs change,” explained founding member Jay Watson. “I always loved listening to my favourite bands’ ‘Peel Sessions’ and wanted something of our own in that vein.”
For the unfamiliar, Peel Sessions were live music sessions recorded for DJ John Peel’s BBC Radio 1 show. According to the BBC, during the 37 years Peel was on Radio 1, he recorded over 4000 sessions by over 2000 artists. Some of the most notable session artists include Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Marley, The Smiths, Nirvana, Pulp and The White Stripes.
So, to both celebrate their love of Peel Sessions and of course to celebrate their own Sessions, the POND boys have penned short pieces for us on their own favourite live album.
Have a read of their stories below. POND will be back in the country in January to join Mac DeMarco on a national tour, check out the dates here or below.
Nicholas Allbrook: Bob Marley & the Wailers – Live!
I grew up with this album. The bass used to bump from my sister’s bedroom and the posters of Bob made it a much more appealing place for a little boy to visit, having replaced the gormless leer of James Hatfield and Lars Ulrich etc. My dad used to sing ‘Them Belly Full…’ before dinner. This performance is unbelievable. If a crowd was going this wild at one of my shows I reckon I’d lose my shit, sing horrendously and collapse convulsing in a pool of sweat before the end of the first song, trampled by the unruly hooves of my own runaway tempo. But the Wailers stay smooth as butter, tuneful, languidly pulsing out waves of biblical euphoria. Everyone knows the version of ‘No Woman No Cry’, featuring England’s trademark big-crowd-chanting, as heard at every football and cricket match ever. It was a time when Bob was reaching his full power, rocking a sweat-soaked football bod in leather and denim, full-length locks. It feels like a coming together of London and still weighs a tonne.
Jay Watson: Rolling Stones – Get Your Ya-Yahs Out!
We had this on vinyl at our share house back in the day and it had a scratch on ‘Midnight Rambler’ which would loop this one line that sounded like “I landed” over and over again, but with the beat perfectly in time and we would let it ride for ages before it was necessary to bump it on a little.
Jamie Terry: The Velvet Underground – Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes
One of my favourite live recordings is The Velvet Underground ‘Legendary Guitar Amp Tapes’. I think Jamie showed it to me years ago. It’s a whole VU concert bootleg recording taken from a tape recorder in the back of Lou Reed’s guitar amp. It sounds ridiculously crusty and is pretty much just Lou’s guitar, but it’s got a huge vibe and is just really cool to hear exactly what he did in all those songs. He became one of my favourite guitar players after hearing it. His solos are almost Hendrix-y, but much more rudimentary and primitive sounding. Lots of weird jazz notes (or just mistakes?). Wild.
James Ireland: The Band – The Last Waltz
It’s really hard to choose a favourite live album. Alicia Keys’ Unplugged, Bill Evan’s Sunday at the Village Vanguard, Thin Lizzy Live and Dangerous (big nostalgia), but as far as a live album goes The Last Waltz by The Band is the one. I’m kind of basing that on its lineup of personnel alone. Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison, Dr. John, The Staple Singers, Muddy Waters and more, all sharing the stage for an epic gig. I first heard this record when I was touring in a band years ago and the drummer fancied himself as a Levon Helm type of dude. I thought it was sick at the time but it took me a few years to properly discover it myself. Some of my favourite bits would have to be ‘Such a Night’ by Dr. John, fully coked-up Van Morrison doing his best attempt at high kicks on the drops, Rick Danko and Robbie Robertson’s cool BV’s, The Staple Singers joining them for ‘The Weight’, Mavis’ verse and Rick Danko’s “crazy Chester followed me” verse on that same track. Martin Scorsese documented the whole thing and released it. Well worth watching.
Joe Ryan: Sly and the Family Stone – Live at Woodstock
I’m such a fan of Sly’s studio albums since I first heard There’s A Riot Going On. So a couple of years ago Sly’s set at Woodstock came out as a something-year anniversary. I bought the CD and it blew me away!!! I couldn’t believe the energy and how tight the band was. Very inspiring stuff for me. And a definite influence on my bass playing. I recommend a listen.
Mac DeMarco Australian Tour 2020, With POND
Friday, 10th January
Hordern Pavilion, Sydney
Saturday, 11th January
Festival Hall, Melbourne
Wednesday, 15th January
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane
Saturday, 18th January
Red Hill Auditorium, Perth