WORDS AND IMAGES BY BILLY SEAGRAVE
Every now and then you stumble across an artist that makes you look a little closer, tonight I had one of those moments, at Manchester Academy 3, supporting Pond is Gretel Hanlyn, supported by a band this evening, there is a special piece of magic resonating from her performance, hailing from Acton in west London, there is a real feel of things are beginning to align and big things are on the way.
The first thing that draws you in is Hanlyn’s voice, sultry, powerful, delivery, there’s a huskiness that pulls through, whether she is in full rock mode or delivering a tantalising ballad, one thing for sure is you will stop and engage. I hope she doesn’t mind if I pitch her somewhere between the beautiful Hannan Reid of London Grammar, and the rather iconic Florence Welch, obviously Florence and the machine. Its not just the vocals it’s the confidence of performance and delivery, that I feel will make Hanlyn a rising star throughout the coming months’
2/ It’s the future baby
4/ In the water
5/ Happy all the time
7/ Apple Juice
8/ Honey we are all going to die
Pond is a psychedelic rock band from Perth, Western Australia, formed in 2008. Featuring a revolving line-up, the band currently consists of Nick Allbrook, Jay Watson, Shiny Joe Ryan, Jamie Terry, and James Ireland. Pond is often heavily associated with fellow Australian psychedelic rock band Tame Impala, as members of both groups are long time close friends. Watson is currently a full-time member of both acts. Lead singer Allbrook contributed to both bands from 2009 to 2013 before leaving Tame Impala to focus on Pond and his own solo career. Multi-instrumentalist Ryan is a former crew member for Tame Impala’s live act. In addition, current Tame Impala members Kevin Parker, Cam Avery, and Julien Barbagallo are all former members of Pond, with Parker continuing to work with the band as its record producer and Avery collaborating with Allbrook as the duo Allbrook/Avery.
As the band take to the stage Allbrook makes it clear that he is here to let off steam and that meant audience participation. ‘Americas Cup’, sees Allbrook immediately venturing to the barrier and straddling the pit, for his first foray to the fans, ‘Human Touch’, instantly followed by ‘Sweep Me Off My Feet’. Allbrook is like a Tasmanian devil covering the stage arms aloft bending over backwards crouching on the monitors, with facial expressions to match.
‘Waiting Around For Grace’ brings out the Psychedelic rock and pop, moody synths and layered and simplistic vocals, calm everything down. ‘Burnt Out Star’, continues the glam rock vibes and really does showcase the depth of quality and precision the band possess.
Audience participation is the staple connection between Allbrook and the band, behind that enigmatic energy is a performer who has you hanging on every move on stage. ‘Daisy’ is firmly a crowd favourite, before we drop into another lesson of space rock, all the little tricks and the build up in grungy guitar on ‘Moth Wings /Giant Tortoise / Eye Pattern Blindness’ is mesmerising taking you all over the place.
All to soon the final song in the set is ’Toast’, as the crowd bay for more and the band catch a moment to compose themselves, they return to open with ‘Fire in the water’, actually chosen by the crowd, having received what they wanted the final song of the evening is ‘Don’t look at the sun or you will go blind’, for me the stand out track of the evening, brought me right back to my glam rock days, this is fresh this is modern, it also accompanied on my journey home.
1/ Americas cup
2/ Human touch
3/ Sweep me off my feet
5/ Waiting for Grace
6/ Burnt out star
7/ Paint me silver
8/ Take me Avalon I’m young
10/ Mothwings / Giant tortoise / Eye pattern blindness
12/ Fire in the water
13/ Don’t look at the sun or you’ll go blind
FOLLOW GRETAL HANLYN