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Bardo Pond and Alexander Tucker, Dublin, 6 December 2006

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As a warm up for their performances at All Tomorrow’s Parties, Alexander Tucker and Bardo Pond came over to Dublin for an intense night of excellent music. The two complement each other perfectly, Tucker providing the foundations for Bardo Pond to later build on and subsequently tear down. It was a long night but was well worth double the entry price as both Tucker and Bardo Pond were on top form.


Commencing with an exquisitely loud percussion and screaming guitar explosion, Thread Pulls looked like they were going to be very exciting. The post punk stomp that they began with touches base with bands like Liars, a primal funk hidden under sheet metal. Unfortunately, when the second percussionist put down his sticks and moved to bass and synth the power of the band vanished. They were entertaining but the energy that sucked me in first was gone. They did win me back at the end of the set when the bassist drummed again, but it was such a shame that they couldn’t do their whole set like that.

I have nothing but praise for Alexander Tucker, his recent album Furrowed Brow and his performance at the Supersonic festival earlier in the year have made me a massive fan. As such I was expecting a lot from his performance tonight. He gave it despite a shaky start. He seems to be cursed when it comes to his gear, last time I saw him his guitar was broken and tonight his microphone was on the blip. Despite a furrowed brow of his own, he pulled the music back together despite the technical problems. As expected, he looped acoustic guitar, electric mandolin and voice to make a huge, warm glow of a sound. He builds up a drone-like state not through looping sustained notes but looping lots of different folky fingerpicking lines and assembling them into a beautiful whole. He played a selection of slightly mutated songs from his album, most notably “You Are Many” which was the song that hooked most of the audience.

I could have gone home happy after Tucker but Christmas came early as Bardo Pond took to the stage. They opened with the incredible “Destroying Angel” from their recent album Ticket Crystals. Live it has exponentially more power than on the studio cut. The same is true of all the songs tonight but something about the way the band played “Destroying Angel” gave it an extra oomph. The first half an hour of the set was not surprisingly taken from their new album, each one full of fire and muscle. The grit of the electric guitars and drums was countered perfectly by the synthesiser and Isobel Sollenberger’s flute, which I was expecting to be drowned out in the mix but it shone straight through.

A drunken heckler sprawled on a table near the stage nearly ruined the show for me, he only appeared during Bardo Pond’s set. A couple of members of the band were visibly irked by his intrusive yelps but Sollenberger was highly amused and fed off it. This I think gave them a little kick which made for a delightful performance. They showcased a new song, a long, psychedelic and hypnotic piece (I know, I was surprised too!) which still sounds unfinished but promising. After a short break they came back to do a very long encore which left most of the crowd speechless, of course the little man up the front was still making a racket. However at this stage nothing he could do could ruin the feeling.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 December 2006 15:44  


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