b-more…panda bear

06.21.07 panda bear @ ottobar, baltimore, md. (styles – baltimore correspondent)

the night started out with my buddy, judd, and i riding our bikes down to
the ottobar (less than a mile from my place). another friend of ours was
going to meet us there, but the “sold out” sign ended his night early (sorry
jay). luckily, glynner had reminded me earlier in the week that slacking was
dangerous with such a highly anticipated show, so i already had tickets, and
judd and i were in.

we waded through an assortment of hipsters, art students, and high school
kids to get a couple beers. if you’ve never been there, the ottobar is a
pretty small place (capacity of 450). the downstairs (main stage) is
separated into a lower section where the stage is located and an upper area
where the bar and bathrooms are. it is divided by a small flight of stairs
and the sound booth. it is dimly lit with red and black walls and is the
kind of place you go to knowing you’re gonna be secondhand smoking a couple
packs of cigarettes…… i wouldn’t say i’ve been to a lot of shows at the
ottabar, but this was easily the most crowded i’ve seen it (moreso than
deerhoof in feb and way more than jon spencer last fall).

scott mau took the stage shortly after we got our beers. he sat down at a
bench of electronics with an acoustic guitar and proceeded to lull the
audience with sounds from another planet. i guess i would describe his
music as a spaced out brand of shoegazer folk/drone. the heavily
reverbed/delayed finger picking all but drowned out the barely audibly
vocals in a continuous set in which songs were segued via electronically
generated moans and howls. judd wasn’t too impressed, comparing at least
one segment to fingers across a chalk board. i thought overall, he wasn’t
bad. it is the kind of stuff you can space out to or put on as background
music (kind of like the radio show hearts of space). in the end, we both
agreed it probably would have been enhanced if we had smoked some herb
before the show.

while sm packed up, panda, in jeans and hooded up in a hoodie, along with
one helper set up a small table of electronics/samplers and a microphone.
during this time, i saw a couple of panda’s animal collective bandmates,
geologist and deakin, stroll by and slip backstage (which only makes sense
seeing that they grew up together in the b-more area.) after getting
another beer, i tried to reposition myself for a better view; being on the
short end of the scale, i continually find myself one or two people too far
back, which was the case for the mau set. by the time the lights dimmed out
again, i had found a spot with a semidecent view. a projector engulfed the
stage with a flashing array of psychadelic patterns and movie clips
blanketing panda as he strolled out hoodieless, sporting a daft punk t-shirt
and a fresh haircut. without a word, he started turning dials and the pa
crackled with the now familiar mechanical lurch of the beginning section of
“take pills”. from there he proceeded to play most of person pitch along
with a couple newish songs that he played with ac a couple weeks ago at the
seaport in nyc. the set was seamless with panda carefully melting each song
together, splitting them apart, and splicing them back together as he saw
fit. the sound was sweet, it was nice to hear the songs with some booming
bass, it gave them more of a house feel, which was a cool new perspective
for me. panda looked focused throughout the set, singing with eyes closed
and only moving to bob his head to the beats and to twist knobs. he
finished the set with “chores”, a tune from ac’s forthcoming album,
jam, ending with a quick thank you and scooting off stage.

highlights for me were the beginning; take pills intro>>>new song>>>take
pills ending (i could arguable rank the ending of take pills right up there
as 2 of the most catchy minutes in pop history), carrots (the beat was
knockin), and comfy in nautica. oh yeah, and i forget what song it was, but
there were a couple of clips of great white sharks chomping on fish that i
thought were pretty funny because they seemed sort of out of place with the
music, but somehow worked in an odd way.

anyway, it was a good night, not as much energy as the ac show at the
seaport, but you should definitely be kicking yourself if you missed out
(just make sure you get your tickets to see ac when they come around this

and damn….i forgot to pick up my copy of person pitch on vinyl that night.
oh well, insound here i come….

ps – is anybody else as psyched as i am for the new thurston moore solo


~ by greaterfreedomofmovement on 2007/06/25.

One Response to “b-more…panda bear”

  1. i cannot say that i was that excited for the thurston moore, until i heard that first song. good stuff! thanks for the pictures and review of the show. sounds like good times. i have a friend that made it to the philly show and also expressed that the (song–>new song–>song ending) format was a good deal.

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