There may have been a few people that read the post I published recently where I talked about bands and artists falling retardedly short of the expectations put on the artists by their current fan-base. It’s a fun discussion to have and one that keeps coming up in mind, so I want to touch on it again briefly in the context of the controversy surrounding the Panda Bear set from this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival. Controversy, I call it, because I’m not sure I read one positive review or got a sense that anybody came away impressed by what they witnessed musically. Complaints about stage presence being nonexistent and implications of self-fluffing high art horrible festival music were being thrown around like fans had an idea of what a Panda Bear set at a summer music festival during the day should look and feel like. It seemed odd to me and if you missed the writeup, you missed my conclusion that Panda Bear needs to take notice and make sure he makes the necessary adjustments to not bore the hell out of people live like he might have in July.
But past that, I continued to do my research. I downloaded the set and read the blogs, and I have to say that I wholeheartedly disagree with almost every notion of judgment that was placed on this daytime set. Including my conclusion that there’s something that Panda Bear needs to change live to keep people interested.
Look, I’ll admit I wasn’t there – but listening to this audience recording from the show leaves me wishing I had been there in the front row surrounded by people that could fully grasp what they were witnessing. Note how little this show differs from the recent show at Governor’s Island, which seems to have been the setting that “fans” would have preferred seeing Noah Lennox deliver his set as opposed to day-time in a Chicago park. Also note that I’m currently obsessed with Panda Bear, so this post is really just an excuse to share a sick-ass live set from earlier this year with you so I can move on from listening to this on repeat.
“Drone” is his 2010 set opener, even if people are labeling that incorrectly as part of the “Daily Routine” intro he lead with this tour. “Tomboy” was released a single and the studio version is straight-up menacing. But “Alsatian Darn” is worth calling out (Stereogum agrees); I love how this song is almost completely lost on most everyone in the crowd, and you can friggin’ hear it in the audience. Listen to the yelp that comes at 3:20; you hear a few bros shout “Yeah” but it takes them five seconds to register that thought. It’s my favorite moment on the entire recording. The only “old” song he plays is “Ponytail,” which was always my favorite track from Person Pitch. “At the Jetty > Benfica” is a sonic assault, and it breeds life to the groove-laden “Slow Motion” that sounds like a Marco Benevento melody or something with tripped-ass vocals happening over the top. “Bullseye” keeps the energy happening while “You Can Count on Me” leaves everyone on an emotional high. Listen to the show end and tell me that it’s not pure bliss…
Grab this source or click the Play button below to listen to the show. By now you should know what Panda Bear sounds like, but if you’re a Phish fan like we are this probably sounds closest to something like The Siket Disc or something like “If I Told You” from Party Time. Vehemently recommended listening.
Panda Bear @ Pitchfork Music Festival
- Alsatian Darn
- Surfer’s Hymn
- At the Jetty
- Slow Motion
- You Can Count On Me
This source made the torrent boards so I’m not sure I can credit anyone knowingly for providing it, but whoever taped this guy deserves our kudos and thanks. What do you think? Over-ambient self-indulgent electronica? Beach Boys on acid? The best thing ever produced musically to have graced a festival stage?