Audrey Saunders, Staff Writer

Last Saturday night at the ’Sco , Oberlin’s own //STR0K3TH//K0K//, an all-female noise trio of College seniors Talia Chorover, Rosie Dwyer and Emily Weber, opened for the psychedelic rock band Bardo Pond.

Both performances proved potent; when the lights finally came on after 1 a.m., fans lay grinning on the dirty floor of the bar.

The night of April 27 was a busy one for Oberlin. At the same time as the show at the ’Sco the student group Solarity was throwing a dance party in North Quad, which may have robbed Bardo Pond of students intrigued by the band’s many album titles named after psychedelic drugs.

Nonetheless, the ravers weren’t missed. Without introduction, Chorover swung a tubular piece of plastic in circles above her head, creating an oscillating alien wail that startled concertgoers into forgetting their studies and mundane private lives.

All three were dressed in devil-may-care workout outfits. Despite missing their usual party props, a handle of cheap vodka for vocalists Chorover and Dwyer and an unbecomingly masculine cigar for Weber, //STR0K3TH//K0K// told its fans to get chill or get lost.

Dwyer began to call out specific members of the audience for being lame, loudly enough to be heard over the electronics manipulated by her cohorts.

“Why aren’t you dancing?” Dwyer shrieked, and flipped off the abashed crowd, afterward giggling amicably. “Start a mosh pit!” she screamed, and a couple of cooperative audience members began to shove one another around a little, but were too self-conscious to continue for more than a few seconds.

Weber and Chorover seemed totally unconcerned with what was going on offstage and stared in concentration at their laptop and synthesizer, respectively.

Not all was uncritical advocacy of good times with friends, however. Dwyer’s rapid, senseless vocalizations into her extra high-pitched microphone near the beginning of the performance made for an effective parody of vapid chit-chat so common among regular girls nowadays.

Weber and Chorover’s abrasive electronic sounds also deserved to be taken seriously. The two crafted a heterogenous mixture of high-pitched and semi-rhythmic noises, punctuated by silence and underscored by a deep hum. The set reached its peak when a blast of bass with discordant dance sounds awoke the audience from its passive transfixion toward the end of the performance.

Vocalist and flautist Isobel Sollenberger, Bardo Pond’s sole female member, was the antithesis of the manic college-aged caricature Dwyer poked fun at. Standing at the front of the stage, she grasped the microphone with both hands and with her eyes almost completely closed quietly thanked //STR0K3TH//K0K// for a cool set.

Sollenberger said she wished Dwyer, Chorover and Weber had played another song, showing them the respect she also expressed for her audience later on in the performance.

Bardo Pond played several new songs, according to Sollenberger’s sparing monologue. She spoke in the silence after each song’s neat conclusion, which prepared the audience for the next, and fell quiet again as guitarists John and Michael Gibbons, bassist Clint Takeda and drummer Jason Kourkonis began to play.

Usually, as soon as the band gained momentum, Sollenberger sang in a pleasant voice that was dissolved within the noises made by the instruments that surrounded her. Sometimes she picked up her flute and played it into her microphone.

The musicians unveiled each song slowly, playing quietly until they burst into loud, heavy rock. Although they generally followed this progression, each song sounded distinct; variation kept the audience constantly reassured of its future satisfaction and proved Bardo Pond’s songwriting skill.

Since the crowd was so small, its intimacy with Bardo Pond was easy. The band expressed its gratitude for the audience’s willingness to let the music help transform the ’Sco into a place where one can feel aware and at peace.

The crowd called Bardo Pond back on stage for a long encore, which the band responded to without hesitation. In the middle of the final song, an unmelodic and weirdly incoherent jam, during which guitar feedback and Kourkonis’s drumming were most prominent, was disorienting — but the band’s characteristic melody and rhythm re-emerged, letting the audience return to earth gently.