Lately, DJ sets and electronic dance music are the big draw, so it is a good time to be a beat-maker. On October 5 at The Metro, British DJ Gold Panda strayed away from some of his more ambient beats for a pulsating set that was equally as entrancing, yet somewhat lackluster.
Gold Panda makes incredible beats, drawing a lot of influence directly from Asian and Middle Eastern music, but he tends to produce slower, more melancholy or ambivalent music. There is emotion behind it, but in a way that is much more chill than the electronic rhythms of Avicii or deadmau5. This set was different, Gold Panda had a large mixing board and drum pad set up, mixing and remixing each of his tunes, improvising in a way that made his own music feel more upbeat than usual.
The crowd could feel the slight transition into a more upbeat place. It was noted aloud by a concert-goer nearby. The set wasn’t a full-fledged dance set, but the bobbing and swaying suited the vibe. Most of the audience looked college-age or perhaps even slightly younger. The younger audience seemed more eager to dance than older, head bobbing patrons.
Gold Panda opened with the song “We Work Nights” from his new album Half of Where You Live, which came out this last June. This version of the track sounded like there was heavier bass, and he essentially skipped the slower break in the middle on the recorded version.
He also played “Reprise” from the new album near the end of the set; the only track all night to have clear vocals mixed into the beat. This track felt closer to mainstream EDM, but had a more ’80s feel than it does on the album. “I feel like I should be vogueing,” was the response from one attendee.
The entire set was about and hour including the encore, and Gold Panda probably only played around ten tracks. Because he was taking his time changing his own music though, each track in the set blended into the next after four or so minutes. He was using certain accents from single tracks, such as the sitar on “Quitter’s Raga,” to maintain the flow, but was shifting the patterns of the sounds around the steadier throbbing beats.
Near the end–possibly the penultimate track, but it was difficult to distinguish–was a seven-minute long rendition of Gold Panda’s most popular track, “You.” Live, this version had the high-pitched accent moved and removed; he was putting it in manually, changing the track’s otherwise consistent sound.
It was odd. Gold Panda’s set was very good, and he was shocked that he was called on for an encore, but at the same time the enthusiasm of concert goers felt like it was getting lower and lower as the show progressed. After “You” people started leaving. Not a substantial number, but a noticeable amount. Perhaps it was because of the second opening act.
At the beginning of the show, there was a quick set by Voices of Black, and afterwards there was a nearly hour-long set by light up, zebra mask clad Slow Magic. A MacBook Pro, a small drum pad and two large drums were all he needed to thrill the crowd. His set was incredible and hyped up the audience in a way that made the show feel like it climaxed too early. He brought one of his drums down into the excited crowd twice and at one point was briefly joined by two people in stage cube shaped masks. His set was much more high energy than Gold Panda’s, whose beats felt too chill in comparison.