Live: Gold Panda Gets Restless at Glasslands

Gold Panda, somewhere in there
Gold Panda, somewhere in there

Gold Panda Glasslands Saturday, April 2

Better Than: 
Thinking about how you couldn't afford LCD tickets.

It's hard to act like a rock star when you're hunched over a pile of hardware that's sitting on a table. But if you want to milk the maximum effect out of these small motions, you have to do what Derwin Panda (a/k/a Gold Panda) did at Glasslands Gallery on Saturday night: add some extremes to your music.

On record, the young British producer's music is possessed mostly by a comforting kind of softness: on "Before We Talked," warm samples ease glitchy beats; the sharp vocal sample on "You" is underlaid with warm, high bass. Panda tends to round off the attack of his notes, and his melodies often sound like they're coursing through semi-viscous liquid.

On stage Saturday, those samples and snippets remained--many sparked cheers the first time they came through the speakers--but they were delivered more forcefully, more chaotically, and more restlessly. Tracks like "I'm With You But I'm Lonely" were built up and torn down aggressively, with abrupt breakdowns and segments of robotic repetitiveness. Instead of sudden ends or steady mixes from one song to another, Panda would often chase songs up into noisy, howling peaks of feedback before starting another one. Some of these additions--a very splashy hi-hat on "Marriage," some techno-y 808 passages on "Back Home"--made a lot of sense. But there were moments when Panda seemed to get lost in his head, and the audience didn't follow; during a particularly ponderous extra passage added to "Snow and Taxis," people actually started chatting, and it took some powerful bass to shut them up.

Panda's first words to the audience came 45 minutes into his set, to introduce a new, "unfinished" song that might be called "Gonna Cheat Ya." An intriguing collection of xylophone melodies collapsing onto drum kicks, its mix of force and fragility probably sounds great in headphones. But like a lot of the night's set, it seemed stuck between the grand gesture Panda wanted to make, and the tiny, delicate maneuvers at which he so excels.

Critical bias: 
I had to skip the second half of the Kentucky-UConn game to get to this show on time

Guy #1: "Whoooooo-hey, what's that guy's name?" Guy #2: "Kieran." Guy #1: "WHOOOOOO KIERAN! FUCK YEAH!"

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Random Notebook Dump 
So many Navajo sweaters!

"I'm With You But I'm Lonely"
"India Lately" / "Quitters Raga"
"Before We Talked"
"Back Home"
"Snow and Taxis" 
"Gonna Cheat Ya" (?)
"Marriage" Encore
"After We Talked"
"Win-San Western"

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