Concert Review: Voices Of Black, Gold Panda, May 16, Black Cat


Style and space are what emerge as distinctive after seeing Voices of Black and Gold Panda perform at the Black Cat. The two are very different – Voices of Black being a diverse quartet in terms of instruments and ethnicity, Gold Panda being a solitary Brit presiding over a high-tech musical machine.  However, both prove themselves stylistically distinct and confident in the stage space – a winning combination that obviously pleased the sold-out crowd.Voices of Black took the stage first, bringing with them American flag bandanas, fedoras, cowbells, recorders, keyboards, saxophones and drums to name only a few instruments. The two lead singers, Jules Born and Brother Jupiter, were unassuming and endlessly polite, repeatedly thanking the crowd but never distracting from the music. They played several old and new tracks, including Fool’s Gold Rush and Get Enough (my favorite). If you were to imagine the show on mute, the band would have been almost like a still-life painting. There was minimal dancing on stage, ample space between all members, and little movement at all. However, the tracks they were playing were full of life and rhythm and the sound they produced filled the Black Cat’s backstage with all the energy the crowd was looking for.

After an hour of solid music from Voices of Black, Gold Panda took the stage. I saw him once before years back, and his person still caught me by surprise. For producing such a stylistically strong and addictive sound (as one of my friends put it, “Gold Panda produces liquid ear crack”) the man takes up very little space himself. Dressed in a simple black hoody and hardly making eye contact with the crowd, the lone Englishman immediately launched into his signature electro-pop music-making, instantly turning the crowd into a moving, swaying mass (punctuated, noticeably, by the one girl who was wise enough to bring a light-up hula hoop as a dance prop). I have always loved listening to Gold Panda’s tracks (especially You and Marriage) on their own, but what struck me seeing him live this time is the man’s effortless and entrancing transitions in the space between tracks. He never lets the beat entirely go, but to navigate from one song to another he uses incredibly inventive sound tactics, including clapping noises, brass instrument sounds, and wind/water effects. His manipulation of that in between space is definitely worth a ticket to see him live.

Posted on by halley in Concerts

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