A Night of Remembrance and Electronic Music

September 13th, 2010


Panda Bear – The Beach at Governors Island – September 11, 2010

Earlier this month, Brooklyn Vegan interviewed Noah Lennox—known as Panda Bear and a core member of Animal Collective. Asked about September 11th, he recounted how on that day a woman informed him that the subway wasn’t running and pointed toward the sky where he could see a big pillar of smoke and the buildings on fire. To this day, the images and memories connected to that date are saddening and surreal. It’s difficult to remember how the city and its culture differed before the tragedy. However, with two luminous beams known as the Tribute in Light standing in the place of the towers, the city’s landscape is undeniably transformed, though a change in its people is more nuanced and complex.

For that reason, a fantastic lineup of experimental electronic musicians can play a seemingly perfect show at The Beach at Governors Island while underlying emotions cloud the experience. On Saturday night, fellow Animal Collective member Avey Tare opened with a DJ set followed by psychedelic bands Teengirl Fantasy and Gala Drop. Gala Drop, a relatively unknown group from Lisbon, where Lennox currently lives, opened at his request. The quartet’s trans-like jams were well received from those crowded around the stage. And the atmosphere they created was built upon and transformed when Panda Bear took the stage with a guitar-keys-and-sampler setup.

Lennox, known for sets that blend together old and new songs, played selections from his critically acclaimed third album, Person Pitch, like “Ponytail” and “Comfy in Nautica,” along with tracks from his forthcoming album, Tomboy. He also melded Animal Collective’s frantic “Guys Eyes” into a more mellow and melodic guitar-based version, which delighted the many AnCo fans in attendance. The set was beautifully constructed and the sound adapted to the large, outdoor space extraordinarily well. But, as the show came to a close and the crowd boarded ferries back to Manhattan, the sight of the Tribute of Light served as a powerful notice of what the day means. A beautiful late-summer concert reminded us that our experience of the present is colored and informed by remembrance of the past. —Jared Levy