Bardo Pond | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bardo Pond's album titles are quick to promise the listener a trippy good time--Bufo Alvarius is named for a toad that secretes a hallucinogenic venom, Amanita for a genus of mushroom. I'm especially partial to their overlooked 2001 release Dilate, which adds a few cantering folk-rock outings to the Philly quintet's trademark compositions of dense, sludgy riffs, gliding vocal and flute melodies, and spacey feedback extrapolation. But for mind-altering power none of the discs can match the live show, where the band gives in to its improvisational impulses and rides those riffs out into unpredictable, endlessly unfurling tangents. Nor can the recordings capture Bardo Pond's withering stage volume, which generates clouds of overtones that leave the ears humming. Bardo Pond is touring in support of On the Ellipse, their first recording for the All Tomorrow's Parties label. Its six leisurely tunes integrate Dilate's acoustic experiments into the overall sound; on "Night of Frogs," for example, gently picked guitars float on tabla-and-keyboard drone into a surging maelstrom of electric fuzz. Phaser and fellow Philadelphians 1929 open. Thursday, July 10, 9:30 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 773-276-3600.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Nuuj.

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