Conceived with the aim of drawing celebrating and supporting the comeback of Australian live music, the Jack Daniel’s backed live music series was designed to give back to artists, venues and music lovers all around Australia in the wake of Covid’s devastating impact on the live music industry. Furthering this spirit of giving, Jack Daniel’s will also be donating 100% of ticket sales towards raising funds for Support Act, a music industry charity delivering crisis relief services to musicians, managers, crew and music workers across all genres who are unable to work due to ill health, injury, a mental health problem, or some other crisis, such as COVID-19.
While Pond weren’t due on stage for a few hours when doors first opened, Jack Daniel’s wasted no time warming up the crowd and had the joint buzzing early with the bar serving up a variety of inviting offerings including a Jack Daniel’s Apple Fizz cocktail (which I immediately knew I needed in my life and can 100% recommend), their Zesty Lemon and Blood Orange Seltzers, and brand staples like their Jack Daniels Tennessee Whiskey with cola and ginger mixers, the crowd were spoilt for choice all night long.
Set to a backdrop of floor to ceiling tour posters, op shop lampshades, a hanging disco ball and a carved out surfboard sign displaying the venues name prominently displayed above the stage, the Solbar’s band room is what I imagine the interior of my Nana’s living room would look like if she shacked up with the surfy half-her-age neighbour next door. It was also the perfect home for the eclectic mix of talent that was about to take to the stage.
With a commanding presence, heavenly sounding vocal loops and accompanied by a snappy and booming drum sound that echoed around the room, CLYPSO made an opening statement that was hard to ignore, turning heads right around the room towards the direction of the stage.
Oscillating between modern reggaeton/calypso style beats and high energy electro dance pop, CLYPSO delivered a solid set of catchy hits that had the whole room grooving along and even incited a chant style sing-a-long during her 2020 banger “Sidestep”.
Backed by a healthy dose of 808s and vintage bouncy synth layers, CLYPSO’s captivating vocals had the crowds’ eyes and ears remained glued to the stage for the remainder of her set.
Closing with her hit track “D.Y.S (Defend Your Situation)”, CLYPSO drew the crowd to the very front edge of the stage and had the entire room jumping around to the infectious beat and instantly recognisable brass hooks of the song’s chorus.
With the crowd well and truly warmed up, in equal parts thanks to the humid Queensland climate, flowing drinks and CLYPSO’s lively performance, Pond bounced onto the stage, to an elated cheer from the crowd before launching into and ripping through an exhilarating hour of synth-drenched psych rock bathed in blisteringly overdriven, fuzzed out guitar riffs and finished off with sun-soaked space synths borrowed straight out of the 1980s.
Oozing with that enigmatic frontman energy and charisma that would rival Jagger in his prime, lead vocalist Nick Allbrook appeared to be playing the most epic game of frontman bingo, dropping to the floor mid-guitar solo and kicking his leg far higher than your average frontman would find comfortable throughout the set, all while wielding his mic stand around like a weapon and belting out his vocals with impassioned falsetto screeches.
Bantering with the crowd in-between songs, Allbrook cheekily quipped “Do ya guys call this place “the mooch, the rooch or the doooreee?” to which the crowd erupted in laughter with “the mooch” seeming to be the crowd’s new favourite name for their town.
Sandwiching their biggest hit “Paint Me Silver” in the middle of their set, the crowd erupted, chanting every lyric of the chorus back at Allbrook, who was balanced precariously on the foldback monitors at the front of the stage.
Picking up the pace towards the end of the set with electro stomper “Pink Lunettes”, a track off the band’s latest album 9, Pond made it near impossible for even the most left-footed of crowd members not to boogie along. But perhaps the most poignant and unexpectedly joyous moment of the set was seeing Allbrook’s connection with the band’s fans.
In-between climbing on top of foldback monitors and practically swinging from the ceiling, Allbrook balanced on the edge of the stage and met the crowds’ outstretched hands with his own, lowering his frame down to the crowd’s level to lock eyes, passionately embrace and sing in unison with members of the front row impromptu choir that formed in the later half of the band’s set. Watching this interaction unfold was something that after the last two years felt like magic in its most pure of forms.
Witnessing the symbiotic and devoted relationship between Pond and their fans evoked the kind of enamoured elation within that only live music can replicate and I’m so glad we can finally share in this experience together once again.
The remaining shows of the Live At Last tour saw a spectrum of well-known and loved Aussie acts including San Cisco, Psychedelic Porn Crumpets, and Ruby Fields play shows at some of Australia’s most beloved venues around the country with dates in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne throughout April 2022.
Jack Daniel’s Live At Last Tour 2022
Psychedelic Porn Crumpets
Thursday, April 21st
Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Sunday, April 24th
Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday, April 28th
The Espy, Melbourne, VIC