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The Scarlet & Black

Ponys almost as awesome as opener

Last Friday, the Ponys performance in Gardner Lounge gave Grinnellians an invigorating start to a well-deserved weekend. In a time where the pop tones of Lady Gaga reign supreme on the charts, this band offers a refreshing way for listeners to get their kicks. Although the vocals aren’t much in the way of a purring soprano and there’s no intensely throbbing beat, the vibrant garage band sound still manages to energizes listeners just as much as, if not more, than “Bad Romance.”
Started in 2001 by guitarist and vocalist Jered Gummere, The Ponys are currently comprised of three other members—bassist and vocalist Melissa Elias, guitarist Brian Case, and percussionist Nathan Jerde. Based out of Chicago, Ill., The Ponys are imbued with a type of indie/punk rock, relying heavily upon a strong guitar sound and lead singer Gummere’s strident singing.
During their concert, The Ponys led the listener to a place of fervent movement and energy. The majority of their songs are high intensity, and, as I witnessed at the concert, perfect for the quasi-moshing scene going on at the forefront of the crowd. You can’t help but move your head, tap your foot or jump up and down excitedly. The kind of music the Ponys create leads me to reminisce about what garage bands used to sound like—lively, unedited and fresh.
On their Myspace page, the Ponys cite such things as “friends,” “hot tubs” and “whiskey” as influences, a surprising breath of honesty that differs from other bands who might feel inclined to cite more elevated and less ordinary sources of inspiration. However, I think these normal and commonplace influences are what gave the band a certain “oomph” factor and made their show so perfect for a Friday night. This band wasn’t being pretentious, and I think because of that people were able to key into and resonate better with what they have to say, and how they say it. Who doesn’t love friends, hot tubs and whiskey? I know I love their song “Little Friends,” which reinforces the candidness and fresh sound that gives this band their spark.
Although I enjoyed their opener Rank Strangers more than the Ponys themselves, the liveliness and buoyancy the Ponys created was definitely an upper that left me feeling more energized than when I came. They were happy to be up on the stage, and we were happy to be listening to them.
The band currently has three records out, “Laced with Romance,” “Celebration Castle” and “Turn the Lights Out.”My personal favorite, “We Shot the World,” appears on “Celebration Castle.”

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