Panda Bear Puts On a Balancing Act at The Bowery Ballroom

October 14th, 2015

Panda Bear – The Bowery Ballroom – October 13, 2015

The most captivating part of Panda Bear’s performance last night at The Bowery Ballroom (the first of three sold out shows) was not Danny Perez’s incredible video art— mesmerizing as that was, morphing from images of gummy worms to retro cartoon snippets to gyrating women dressed as reptiles—but instead the intricate interplay between Noah Lennox and his musical equipment.

While Lennox may have possessed a modest, unassuming presence as he settled in behind a table filled with his samplers and synthesizers, once he got the elaborate setup humming and began to sing, it became clear that Lennox was masterminding a dizzying process to create his sound. With songs like “Mr. Noah” and “Crosswords,” he sang with utmost focus, simultaneously looping and singing over his own vocals. It’s a unique process that boggles the mind of those less familiar with audio-production techniques, and despite the array of colors and both beautiful and unsettling images projected behind him, it continued to draw attention back to Lennox.

In addition to performing many pieces from his latest full-length release, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, Lennox performed some rare treats for discerning fans, including “This Side of Paradise” and “Untying the Knot,” from the Mr. Noah EP, as well as “No Man’s Land,” off the Crosswords EP. Up until the very last note of “Surfer’s Hymn,” during the encore, Lennox’s concentration didn’t appear to waver, caught up in the trance of crafting his music live, a balance of great technical skill while still connecting deeply to his songs’ emotional core. —Alena Kastin | @AlenaK