The set was short but spastic. Energetic and loud. Experimental guitar noodling punctuated by shrill cajoling, yelping and trilling from lead vocalist Molly Siegel. In short, everything you'd expect from exuberant Baltimore art-pop band Ponytail. Playing to a small but intimate crowd at the Phoenix Grille on the campus of UCI on Saturday, Siegel grimaced and smiled throughout the show. Her infectious dancing incited the audience to do the same. The first few rows became a flurry of tangled limbs —sometimes with Siegel in the mix.
Although the band is currently touring for its highly acclaimed second album “Ice Cream Spiritual,” its set also included a new number that was less raucous and more dance-driven with a grooving, overarching beat. From "Ice Cream Spiritual," they played “Beg Waves,” “Die Allman Bruder” and single/set-closer “Celebrate the Body Electric (It Came from an Angel)” — complete with audience participation for the climactic "aahs" at the end of the song.
Like many of the DIY, all-ages Acrobatics Everyday shows, the lineup spanned different genres, with Orange County’s own noisy Sprawl Out opening, along with Vancouver’s Twin Crystals and San Francisco’s electronica 60-Watt Kid. Ponytail fit right into the grassroots feel of the show. At one point, drummer Jeremy Hyman said, to much applause, “Thanks for spending your Saturday night with us!” It is hard for a band to pack in so much liveliness without using any real coherent lyrics, but for the devoted crowd, one clear line of gratitude was enough.
Photo credit: Vivian Lee