Bardo Pond | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Bardo Pond 

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Psychedelic rock, like most rock-crit pigeonholes, has become an utterly meaningless term that's applied indiscriminately to whimsical pop, meandering jams, and trippy electronic dance music. Bardo Pond take psychedelia back to its roots; two of the Philadelphia-based quintet's albums, Amanita and Bufo Alvarius, are named after hallucinogenic substances (mushrooms and toads respectively). The guitars of brothers John and Michael Gibbons turn out a viscous wall of sound that's given definition by Clint Takeda's purposeful, melodic bass and woozily orbited by Isobel Sollenberger's languid flute and dreamy singing and Joe Culver's unhurried drumbeats. Many current psych combos are mired in nostalgia, aping the work of groups that broke up or tuned out long before Nixon resigned, but Bardo Pond's mastery of controlled feedback and repetition is on par with that of contemporaries like Bailter Space and Magic Hour. The band's Chicago debut last year was somewhat tentative, but its May appearance at the Empty Bottle was a much more confident affair; its open-ended songs became trance-inducing maelstroms of overtones. This return engagement should be similarly splendid. Pittsburgh's Brother J.T. & Vibrolux and ex-Dream Syndicate leader Steve Wynn open. Thursday, July 18, 10 PM, Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western; 276-3600.


Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo of Bardo Pond by Brooke Williams.

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