Panda Bear Transports Bowery Ballroom Fans to No Man’s Land

By Opheli Garcia Lawler

Panda Bear performed at the Bowery Ballroom in October for a series of three sold out shows at the venue. Panda Bear is a cofounding member of the band Animal Collective and one of the four members. For the past few years he has been working on solo projects such as Tomboy, Panda Bear meets the Grim Reaper, and his recently released EP Crossroads.

Two DJ sets, Deakin, another Animal Collective member, and The Present preceded Panda Bear’s performance. Both sets got the crowd, which were mostly Williamsburg hipsters, into a mindset to handle the strobing energetic set that Panda Bear performed.

Danny Perez, a frequent Animal Collective collaborator, did visuals for the show. With slides of naked alien women pulsating around a distant space, snakeheads splitting into a kaleidoscope, and colored light raining onto the crowd and flooding the floor.

The light show only added to the whimsical nature of Panda Bear’s set. Getting lost in each song, he rarely looked up at the crowd, instead focusing on creating the songs from his independent work. To the untrained ear, many of these songs would sound homogenous, something like a fairy’s acid trip over the course of several weeks. But to those familiar with Panda’s work, as all of the Bowery venue was, hollers of excitement were belted out as songs such as “Principe Real” and “Boys Latin” began.

Performing songs mostly from Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper with songs from his other projects thrown in intermittently, it was the song “Mr. Noah” that had the crowd dancing and moving around erratically. After a full hour-long set, and playing a very stimulating set, Panda Bear told the crowd goodnight and left the stage. The crowd remained standing, fixed in their spots. After a much cheering, hooting and one avid screamer, Panda Bear came back on for a ten minute long encore. During his encore a video of the Grim Reaper dancing in a pink, glittery robe was projected on stage.

Overall the show was entirely unforgettable, and Panda Bear remains one of the neo-psychedelic music gems.

Opheli Garcia Lawler is a Highlighter Staff Columnist. Email her at music@nyunews.com

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