Found Sound: Panda Bear and Geologist at The Majestic Theater
The stakes were high, I was reeling with excitement.
Having seen Animal Collective live back in July of 2016, I’ve been as curious to experience a solo show from one of the four members as I was anxious to see them again as a group. In April 2018, following the January release of his vinyl-only EP, A Day with the Homies, Panda Bear began a brief tour in Europe before crossing the Atlantic and commencing a US/Canadian tour with fellow Animal Collective member Geologist. Fortune favored me with a stop in Detroit at the spacious yet surprisingly intimate Majestic Theater, where you can eat pizza and bowl downstairs, or attend shows at two separate venues upstairs (The Majestic and The Magic Stick). About one week before the show, Geologist announced he was releasing an exclusive, limited edition cassette tape, Live in the Land of Sky, his first official release of his own content. If there’s ever been a time to call myself #blessed, it was now.
As soon as my friend Cate and I stepped foot in The Majestic, I beelined for the merch table scooping up my very own copy of Live in the Land of Sky. We scoped out the scene, grabbed some drinks and made secured our spots at the front. Soon the place was humming with anticipation and excitement. People gathered around the stage, huddled up close to share in the bond of loving music.
Right on time, Geologist took the stage, donned his infamous headlamp and got behind his control station. The music built up slowly as Geologist worked knobs and switches, bringing in new sounds and creating a expansive, ever-changing soundscape. The audience swayed and moved to the music Geologist created before our very eyes. When Cate and I were talking after the show, she mentioned how often the people had their eyes closed, lost in the experience, completely submerged in a newly born universe of sound. Without any warning the bass hit, taking his set to the next level. The beats and bass flowed and danced around the sounds; his whole set felt like one long, glorious song. I would have happily listened for another two hours.
After Geologist’s marvelous display I was pumped for Panda Bear and, to no one’s surprise, he did not disappoint. Between the visuals and his music and his vocals; Panda Bear created an captivating experience that I’m confident none of us will forget. Throughout his set he played a mixture of unreleased music, and music from A Day With The Homies EP, Tomboy and Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper. As with Geologist, the audience immediately fell under Panda Bear’s spell, completely enthralled throughout the entire set. Panda transitioned from one song to the next seamlessly, playing some of my personal favorites (“Boys Latin”, “Tropic of Cancer”, “Drone”). Witnessing these songs translated to a live performance makes me appreciate the music in an entirely new way. Every song was its own journey, but they all came together.
The next day, after letting the night and all we saw and heard really sink in, Cate and I sat down to discuss the show. Although I’d introduced her to some songs and she’d heard Panda Bear on Daft Punk’s R.A.M., Cate is still relatively new to the Animal Collective scene. She had a lot to say about to show, but specifically noted their passion and obvious, palpable love for music. During both the sets they were equally as engaged as the audience was and you could see by the way they moved how much they enjoy what they do. We also noted it was easy to tell that the crowd really cared about being there. They showed their appreciation, happily, by dancing, swaying, boppin’, and singing along. It was an incredible night, an experience we won’t forget.
The first couple days of June see the end of Panda Bear’s solo tour, but just two weeks later, Animal Collective begins a three month tour of Europe, the United States, and South America. If you have the chance to see them - go. These shows are a unique, delightful experience, whether you are familiar with their sound or not.
For more information on bookings, upcoming releases, tour info, and more, check out their website: http://www.myanimalhome.net
Listen to Geologist's radio show “The O’Brien System” here: https://www.nts.live/shows/geologist
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