Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox of Animal Collective) recently brought the Buoys Tour to the Lodge Room in Highland Park with support from Flaccid Mojo for two sold out nights of pink tinted audiovisual insanity.
Flaccid Mojo are a strange compliment to AnCo; they recently opened for the group (minus Panda Bear) at the Vista Theater with a massively disorienting set at a volume loud enough to shake material loose from the ceiling. What seemed like an odd choice as an opener for a night focused on the reflective and spacy Tangerine Reef became much more understandable when paired with the live presentation of Lennox’s chaotic solo act. Accented with minimal stage lighting and projections of texturally grotesque collected footage, the sounds emanating from the experimental electronic duo (consisting of members of Black Dice) formed an enticingly abrasive foundation commanding the crowd to move. This is an act I’d love to see in the seediest after hours spot in LA: some place with décor and an audience as primitive and brutish as the music and willing to be completely receptive to it.
Noah Lennox’s solo output as Panda Bear has made a long journey though style, genre, and tone but it’s always retained the clear mark of it’s creator. Buoys reaches back to the oldest work PB to once again present minimal, hypnotic compositions while incorporating rich looping melodies. There’s a beautiful calmness to the album that (personally) gives a strong sense of sadness and grief and made me wonder how the “intense live performance” I’d heard so much about over the years would be changed. The similarities to his colleagues ambient explorations with Tangerine Reef were quickly dismissed the moment he took the stage: flashing strobes and sickly sweet projections of alien figures backlit the unassuming presence of Lennox and his gear. Multiple eras of his work were featured in the playlist that timed tracks from Buoys perfectly. Live, those moment silence and minimalism are translated into a nearly overwhelming sense of excitement and spontaneity leaving everyone in the audience with the feeling that they truly experienced something at these shows.
Words and Photos by: Dillon Vaughn