By Tye Musante, Contributing Writer
On the last day of September, autumn finally shifted into place and the band Pangea took to the stage at the Williamsburg Music Hall just as the air was beginning to chill. The Californian rock band’s latest album Bulls and Roosters is a solid record filled to the brim with bangers and never-ending energy; a burning hybrid of Green Day and Best Coast’s lo-fi Cali vibe. The bad news is that it isn’t exactly as bangin’ in person, and you’d probably waste your money going to see the record performed live.
The biggest disappointment was that one of their openers actually outshined them. Tall Juan, an electrifying singer and bewildering guitarist, bested them in nearly every category. He took the stage in a striking red jacket, smiled at us, and simply shredded, screeched and sung, inviting audience members to play drums, and became more and more undressed. The way he guy moved his hips was hypnotizing. If he wasn’t thrusting himself around, he was writhing on the floor, guitar in hands, completely letting the music take him…somewhere. His website describes him as a “Latin Elvis” and after seeing him live, it was easy to see why. His performance was thoroughly engaging. Nothing like that happened during Pangea’s set.
Pangea performed their songs decently but with little pleasure, it seemed. New songs “Money on It” and “Better Find Out” were hits with the crowd, and old bop “Badlillac” was a favorite too. They just didn’t deliver anything more. Lead singer William Keegan rarely spoke to the audience, and didn’t respond with even a glance to shouts and praises from the crowd. From their attire, I would assume they were on their way to a barbecue, or perhaps attending a bluegrass concert. Button downs, jeans… outfits of which your dad would approve. Their style however, wasn’t the issue, it’s merely a symptom of the illness. The real problem was that they had zero engagement with their audience. When Keegan told us this was their last song and that they would soon leave after, it was the most he had ever spoken. They came, played their songs, left, came back, did an encore, and left again. Afterwards, they presumably collected their checks and went to sleep.
Yes, their new album is fantastic. It can’t be recommend enough, but if you’re looking for live musicians with heart and soul, look into Tall Juan, or perhaps the other opening band: the somber girl group Daddy Issues. Both performed more interesting sets in less time. Maybe some bands just want to get up there, play song after song, and go home – it’s a minimalist choice. It’s just not enough.