Show Pics: Panda Bear @ The Mohawk (4/27)
Levitation 2018 was not really a festival; it was a series of curated shows that happened to be on the same weekend. The environmental experience of marching across fields and pivoting from stage to stage was removed for ticketed shows at established venues. Hopefully, this will be a one time thing to keep the concept of Levitation alive. There was a time when it was the most unique fest going, whether in a power plant and by the river…
Anyway, when the lineup was announced, I was down for the deconstructed Animal Collective show with Panda Bear and Geologist at Mohawk. My interest increased when Lou Rebecca was added as an opener. It has been some time since our friends move out west to LA and there have been several mini-tours taken. How has the live set progressed and how do the new songs land?
First of all, you can’t call it a festival if you don’t let artists go see the other artists. So many cool projects have started backstage or on the lawns at fests. Levitation, fix that if you plan to keep drawing artists, especially newer mid-level artists that aren’t getting a payday. That said, Levitation’s posters still dominate when it comes to fest merch.
Lou Rebecca was enchanting. The new songs were outstanding. The set started with “Fantome” to ease everyone into the blend of modern synthy goodness and classic French disco. “Tonight” set the crowd in motion, Josh bobbing his head confidently as Lou slinked about the stage, tall green heels and translucent raincoat transitioned to a fluffy jacket. The airy vocal is stronger. Still lofty and seductive, but full and better defined. The mix of songs from the recent EP and “classics” for the Austin locals won the night for me. Sorry, I know the eucalyptus munching loyalists with disagree, but OK, I’ll take that heat.
Geologist was far more subdued. Songs were built and then launched, loops, samples and patterns created and released as textures and tones created tension or comfort. Also starting slowly, we were a god way in before a beat broke the sonic walls. Minimal backlighting, one headlamps bobbing, pointing from synth to drum machine to samplers, the crowd was frozen and hypnotized.
Panda Bear went with hits fast using “Dolphin” and then “Boys Latin”. Big heavy strobes and a rather bright projector blasting visuals had audience members wide-eyed and then overwhelmed. Again, song crafting occurred in the brief breaks between songs and then unleashed. Echoes, loops, fuzz and quirks. Perhaps my favorite Animal in the Collective.