Thursday, May 10, 2012

Pontiak Echo Through Church

Pontiak is a psychedelic rock trio comprised of brothers Van (lead vocals, guitar), Jennings (bass, organ, vocals), and Lain Carney (drums, vocals). I made a last minute decision to catch their set on April 29th when they stopped by Church and I was rewarded handsomely with an inspiring set. Their latest record, Echo Ono, has spent a great deal of time on my turntable and their performance reaffirmed the incendiary force of songs like "The North Coast" and "Across the Steppe".

There was a bit of a sound problem during the first half of their set, but they weathered it in seamless fashion telling the the sound man to cut the monitors during the thunderous intro to stoner jam "Left with Lights". The trio played with a great underlying sense of chemistry, which was no surprise since they are brothers. The guitar tones Van generated from overdriven tube amps and a Gibson SG were as warm as they were loud. The group certainly likes to test the integrity of their volume knobs.

Though playing for a modest crowd, they were all smiles while blanketing those in attendance with rockin’ slabs of psychedelia. All three provided vocals resulting in some gorgeous melodies among the grimey blues riffs. The prog ballad "The Expanding Sky" broke up the spellbinding acid rock that composed most of the set. The crank-the-volume and bang-your-head riffage of "Lions of Least" closed the set in raucous style. Echo Ono is one of the year’s best records and I'm happy to report that they put on a performance to match its intensity.

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