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Ponytail – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 25, 2009

April 27th, 2009

ponytailPonytail is the kind of band that inspires otherwise mild-mannered folks to dance like maniacs. By the time the Baltimore band began “Beg Waves” from their second album, Ice Cream Spiritual, the crowd at Music Hall of Williamsburg had managed to shake off all its shyness and was whipped into an impressive frenzy of sweaty, flailing limbs. As she pogo-ed, trilled and yelped her way through the song, lead singer Molly Siegel’s perma-grin grew that much bigger every time her eyes scanned the crowd.

Ponytail’s music draws influences from a multitude of sources, musical and otherwise, possibly including any or all of the following: drum circles, tropical-bird calls, finger paint and your favorite art-rock or noise-pop bands, like Deerhoof or Ecstatic Sunshine. Their songs are full of changing tempos and tend to favor sounds over straightforward lyrics. Ponytail provides a sonic blank canvas: Here is some wild music. Go forward and dance out your aggression, stomp away your issues, laugh, scream and sing (hoot?) along.

Crowd participation will not be frowned upon at a Ponytail show. (Case in point: After finishing another spirited number, Siegel announced, “That’s a new song!” In quick succession, audience members shouted out, “I liked it,” “I loved it,” and just to keep everyone modest: “It was pretty good.”) It occurred to me later that these proclamations may have all come from one person. But it doesn’t much matter, for the lesson learned on Saturday night is that the appropriate reaction to Ponytail’s music is that there is no appropriate reaction. Just react. —Alena Kastin