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Bardo Pond / Black Bombaim (live at Baba Yaga’s Hut)

Corsica Studios, London
22 September 2014

Bardo Pond live Sept 2014

Despite its location, deep in the heart of Elephant and Castle, I really, really like Corsica Studios. It’s essentially a tiny concrete box with a wicked sound system, the combination of which tends to funnel intensity and make great music sound just that little bit greater. We’re here to see Bardo Pond, of whom more later, and Black Bombaim, of whom I have never heard.

Black Bombaim live Sept 2014

Black Bombaim live Sept 2014

So, armed with beer, we make our way to the front of the stage to see a bunch of the least rock’n’roll-looking dudes I have seen in aeons. But boy, can appearances be deceptive, and they deliver an awesome barrage of doomy space-rock. They’re cosmic like Hawkwind are cosmic, and heavy like Sabbath are heavy, and they kick out a succession of endless-seeming grooves, from the sludgy to the frenetic while the guitar, in lieu of a vocalist, loops and skirls overhead. At times it  puts me in mind of Acid Mothers Temple but with more of an attention span and a willingness to lock down a riff for years on end as the music builds, lifts, and eventually explodes in a shower of sparks (this is a metaphor for music, not for anything rude; keep those thoughts to yourself, thanks very much). It turns out I’m not the only one to have been thinking of Hawkwind during their set; as they leave the stage, the DJ whacks on “Master Of The Universe,” and it seems perfectly fitting.

Bardo Pond live Sept 2014

By the time Bardo Pond come on, the tiny concrete box is rammed to the rafters with eager punters (originally mis-typed that as “pinters”, which would work just as well, given the queue at the bar). And unlike all these however-many-there-are-of-them people, I know very little about Bardo Pond. My only previous exposure to them was at All Tomorrow’s Parties a few years back, where I’d drunkenly managed to lose everyone I was with and thought, “Fuck it, I’ll go watch this band, I’m sure we’ll bump into each other”. And the band was wicked, and the band was Bardo Pond, but I remember very little about the show. So this is all relatively new to me and yet strangely familiar. They take the stage with howls of feedback and a LOT of flute, and then they release the hounds. There’s nothing quite like that surging, gushing roar of the opening bar of the first riff, even when it’s having to piledrive its way through the flute and feedback.

Bardo Pond live Sept 2014

Bardo Pond live Sept 2014

Bardo Pond have done the neat trick of taking your favourite late-night bar band (Shivaree, say, or Morning Bride) and drowning them in feedback, in much the same way as Portishead took your favourite late-night bar band and welded them to an enormous bass-playing robot. Like the band just looked at each other, said, “It’s late, everyone’s drunk, let’s excoriate some motherfucking trebles and pile on the fuzz”. Or, indeed, like the late-night bar itself is actually on top of a mountain. In a storm. And things begin to get psychedelic, like the band had decided to nick some of the peanuts off the bar, only instead of several different strains of human urine, they’ve got reindeer wee on, and they’re the type of reindeers that eat mushrooms and metabolise them into hallucinogens. And all of this at crushing volume, in a tiny concrete box, absolutely packed solid with a very happy audience.

All in all, an excellent night!

Words: -Justin Farrington-
Pictures: -Dave Pettit-

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