Despite initial skepticism from the Polish judge, The Ponys put on an excellent set at Lollapalooza. I wanted to see more and since they played at Bottom of the Hill on Friday, I decided to go see them. On Friday, I was already in a fairly rock’n’roll mood. I was craving those bold power chords some powerful bass lines and frenetic drumming. The Ponys came through in spades.
They play what I kept wanting to call late 60’s-early 70’s straight-up rock. But, somehow, it wasn’t. There is a little more movement than that and some definite Sonic Youth influence. They even include a quote from Thurston Moore (of SY), in his role as a music columnist at Arthur, (“If you are not hip to their chuff, you are out of some loops, pal. Way out.”) on their press page. I don’t know if it was because they never slow down or what — but they really seem to the best of garage rock which is swirling together a million different styles without relying on any of them. Stealing a line from their record promotion, “Somehow, the PONYS cleverly destroy everything that you used to hate, and then force you to love it.” The only thing that took away from the set at all was after they finished playing the crowd clapped some but it was not terribly thunderous and a number of people actually left. After about three minutes of half-hearted clapping The Ponys came back for the encore. The crowd was actually smaller! I just felt a little embarrassed for them. That, however, seems to be the new trend — the encore whether deserved or not. I was glad they played another song but if it was me I don’t think I would have bothered. Other than that, everything was great. They played for a little more than an hour and I really need to remember to try and at least bring my camera to these things if I am going to try and post about them. Oh well, I really enjoyed their set and am definitely a fan now.
After all that, let me say a few quick sentences about The Occasion (link to their MySpace page which has several songs) who opened for them. They are from New York and definitely have some of that Joy Division vibe going on. The thing I really liked about them was they had their bass super fuzzy and then they would play these simple little lines on the keyboard that sounded almost out of tune but were very high and clear and provided this really nice counterpoint to the bass. Their set started out very slow and slowly picked up intensity. The last two songs were much more vibrant. It was a nice transition although I think it is one of those things that you can appreciate more when you have more familiarity with the slow songs. It took me a while to get into them at all. I think they have some potential but I don’t know that I would go just to see them.
I missed Miss Alex White’s set which makes me feel a little foolish but oh well.
Here’s a few The Pony MP3’s (from their site)
Little Friends (which they played)
GLaSs CoNVeRsaTIons (which I’m pretty sure is the song I first noticed at Lollapalooza)
(edited for spelling)