Ramsgate Music Hall is one hell of a venue. Being in the line of work I am in I have visited many in my days, from the enormo-domes in London to the dingiest toilet circuit cess pit, I see the plus and negatives of both sides, but nothing and I mean nothing bests the incredible sound that emanates from Ramsgate Music Hall when a band kicks off their live set. It’s simply stunning. No matter where you stand you can hear the lot. With tonight’s band of brothers in the form of Virginia’s Pontiak, this meant that every guitar squall, every hushed vocal was heard with crystal clarity. As a band you have to feel like you have hit lottery pay dirt when you visit this place.

One thing that you will usually read when Pontiak come up in the press is that they are a psychedelic rock band or a stoner rock band. As well as the musical evidence backing up the claims is the full on beards and unkempt hair the band sport, and in fact tonight Van Carney looked like Charles Manson and Bonnie “Prince” Billy's manic lovechild. Yet it’s a label that has never sat well with me to describe their almost traditional Southern rock style. But, after witnessing the first half of their set, I can say that now those stoner and psychedelic tags make total and utter sense. That fuzzy tone emanating from Van’s guitar gave Tony Iommi’s a run for its money. And that pulsating bass and pounding drum added together to make Pontiak fit neatly in with Kyuss and St Vitus, Wolfmother or Truckfighters and the like.

But then they pulled out a couple of countrified ballads that made me reassess all over again. All three brothers vocal harmonies are smooth and rich, and it broke the set nicely to have that juxtaposition of the hard and fast with the soft and slow. At points it made the hairs stand up on my neck. It was that perfectly executed. Of course the venue's precise acoustics meant that the audience heard every whisper and intricate guitar stab. It didn't phase the band at all. Christ, it was majestic. That was the word for tonight, majestic.

All in all Pontiak could do no wrong in the eyes of the packed out venue tonight. They left us with massive smiles on their faces, and told us they loved us whilst high fiving us as they left the stage. What a great night.
















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