by / March 15th, 2010 /

Panda Bear – Vicar St, Dublin

It’s hard not to think of Panda Bear as a ‘them’ or ‘they’. Though widely known to be the solo project of Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox, the multi-vocal layering and abstract pop arrangements of Person Pitch made Panda Bear feel like a mirror of Animal Collective. A softer, more melodic group. However standing centre-stage at Vicar Street, armed with a guitar, sampler, keyboard and drum machine, Lennox reaffirms that this is indeed a one man show.

As one-third of Animal Collective, the most singular and uncompromising band of recent times, Lennox has no problem taking this platform to be ineffably experimental and heavily self-indulgent. Backed by a screen of striking images Panda Bear plays a collage of mostly unknown but still familiar kaleidoscopic dream-pop. The vocals are hymn-like, almost chanting in places, over static noises and looped rumbling beats. There’s an air of “performance art” about the set. It’s fascinating to be immersed in peculiar and bewildering echoes of voice, dripping rhythms and curious samples but when we finally hear -I’m Not’ from Person Pitch it acts as a reminder that we are not going to be treated much else from the classic album. No -Bros’, -Take Pills’ or -Comfy in Nautica’.

What we are treated to are some future classics. Playing around with stronger and more conventional beats, Lennox’s new material is a further pageantry of euphoric melody, that’s surprisingly direct in parts. One standout track is joyously summery with an undercurrent deep-house beat and had the audience known what to expect, the reaction may have been warmer.

While the show was an exciting showcase of new material, it was somewhat disappointing not to have experienced some signature tunes, but it’s not at all surprising. Panda Bear’s fourth album Tomboy is scheduled for release this coming September.

Photo by Loreana Rushe.
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  • brian

    didnt rate that gig at all.

  • John

    Agree. He should not be touring at all if you ask me, especially with the ticket price he charged for this show. Panda Bear live shows are just not interesting and it was a brave move that just did not work at all. Great recordings though. I won’t be going to any of his future shows.

  • JP

    I agree with them two comments, worse gig I’ve been at in a long time, its a pity, because he played all them classic tunes at an Animal Collective gig in tri pod a couple of years ago and it was brilliant. wouldnt waste my time going to see Animal collective again eitheir, its an insult to the fans the messing these lads get up to.

  • Richie

    I think a lot of people went into this expecting a party-type gig full of crowd-pleaser tunes like the recent Animal Collective gigs have been, not a set full of unheard work-in-progress (even though it was advertised as him previewing his new material). The circular, droning, repetetive quality of some of the new tracks didn’t help either. You could feel the restlessness in the room after a while.

  • Ronan

    I actually thought it was just me who hated this. If it was anyone else up on the stage people would be more critical about the performance/show but since its panda Bear its “performance art”

  • This gig was quite unbearable. I was tired anyway, and this stuff didn’t help keep me awake. Indulgent noise-rock exploiting his own popularity.

    Pull yourself together, man. Brian Wilson couldn’t possibly approve.

  • “This gig was quite unBEARable…”

    Puntastic! 😀

  • sux

    panda bear live sux. animal collectiv live sux. why people keep paying for it is beyond me!

  • brian

    animal collective and panda bears albums are great but live both abysmal. Brought a mate to animal colective in pod last time because he had heard gushing reviews about them. Half way through their set with their biuncy/biuncy beats he said ‘this shite support band have been on along time’ when are animal collective on………

    But saying that, animal collective have been one of the most influential bands of the last decade.

    Think the problem with panda bear at vicar street not so much the sounds, but his whiny voice that niggled away at you from track to track.

  • Jezerfunhouse

    Ha I am bit late on this but I agree, I had high expectations, bit it sucked so much, no matter how much I wanted to enjoy it, sorely lacking charm!