photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Andrew Sacher
After an opening set by recent Domino signees Ducktails, Panda Bear came on stage with Tomboy-producer Sonic Boom (Peter Kember of Spacemen 3) to perform the recently released album in its entirety at Music Hall of Williamsburg on Sunday night (7/3). The sold out venue came off as a bit of an underplay for Panda Bear, whose last NYC show was headlining Governor's Island, though the intimacy made for the perfect setting. Panda Bear spent most of his time on guitar and vocals as Sonic Boom handled the knob-turning duties. Together, they took psychedelia to an entirely different level. Audience members' senses were blurred as the venue was filled with excruciating volume, while smoke machine smoke sifted through the air and trippy visuals swirled on screen. The hazy atmosphere was even more obscured by lights and colors shooting over the audience from projectors. I found myself needing periodic reality checks to remember I was at a Panda Bear show and not in some other weird dimension.
The delivery of the album was spot-on, and in typical Panda Bear/AnCo fashion, he ditched song breaks for droney interludes, extended passages, and trancelike repetition, adding at least 20 more minutes to the 50-minute album. The drone parts especially came through live. They added breathing room into the intense set that you didn't realize you were getting until the songs picked up again.
After one other non-Tomboy track ("Ponytail"?), he ended the show with Person Pitch-favorite "Comfy in Nautica" to much excitement from the crowd. And while I was equally excited to hear that song, it helped further illustrate how cohesive Tomboy is. The album's unlikely marriage of drone and Beach Boys-y psych pop is like no other. Tomboy lacks the immediate standouts like "Comfy in Nautica," and performing the album from start to finish showed how well it works as a continuous piece of art, and not a collection of singles. Panda Bear chose not to do an encore, which was fitting. The Person Pitch tracks, although great, already felt a little tacked on to what was a very complete set.
More pictures, the setlist and some videos from the show below...
Panda Bear - "Comfy in Nautica" at MHOW 7/3/11
Panda Bear - "Slow Motion" at MHOW 7/3/11
Panda Bear - Last Night at the Jetty (Music Hall of Williamsburg, 7.03.2011)
Panda Bear setlist
01 You Can Count on Me
03 Slow Motion
04 Surfers Hymn
05 Last Night at The Jetty
07 Alsatian Darn
09 Friendship Bracelet
12 Ponytail (?)
13 Comfy in Nautica