Bardo Pond @ Johnny Brenda’s

Bardo Pond, William Hooker String Trio, and Many Arms played at Johnny Brenda’s 8/3/11 around 9pm.

Many Arms from Philly took the stage first. I arrived for the last three songs of their set. They were made up of a guitarist, bassist, and drummer, no vocals. Their sound was loud and chaotic, on the jazzy metal spectrum. Kind of proggy with the bass. The trio worked nicely together, there were times when it seemed like all three were playing completely different songs, but then they’d come back together. The guitarist was doing a lot of solo stuff, very fast high notes which gave me the metal feel. The drums were somewhat choppy, less traditional jazz playing there, sort of sharp. Many Arms was real intense to listen to, the sound wasn’t so much loud as just urgent and frantic. I don’t know why but I kept wondering about their rehearsals and how they must be deaf afterwards. There was some sheet music on stage but I’m not sure anyone was following it. They had some cds for sale & I believe a 3″.

William Hooker String Trio was on after. William Hooker on drums began the set solo. Eventually the guitarist leapt on stage along with the bassist. For a jazz trio it sounded tribal, although maybe that’s a redundant statement considering the focal point was the drums. William Hooker was fascinating to watch and had great control of the sound, signaling to the other performers and steering the song this way or that. William Hooker has a very peaceful, affable personality that really comes across with his playing.  I felt like this was a very intimate performance, that the audience was drawn in and allowed to participate mentally with the ins and outs of the trio’s playing.

Bardo Pond completely made the night.  I’ve never heard them sound so heavy. The bass was realll low and had a deep crunching sound like a thunderstorm. The two guitars were just singing in their own language, I don’t know how it happens that they are able to create such intricate sounds. Once they started the set there was no backpedaling and the intensity just increased throughout. The bass and drums together at several points created a doom metal sound that absolutely crushed. I felt like I was sinking into the floor feeling the sound. The vocals were so pure and beautiful it was hard to look directly at the stage at times. I hope someone recorded the set because it was a totally unique experience.

an interesting night of music, saw a bunch of people buying records too.

photos of the show by dan cohoon here


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