Panda Bear Nation

By tully | "Boredom at Its Boredest" by Michael Tully June 22, 2007 at 7:04AM

Panda Bear Nation

Before I embarked on this most recent ten day visit to Maryland, my spirits were high. All was well in the world. I was handling my business. I was paying the rent. I told myself that I deserved a break. I would do no creative personal work for the entire trip. I would catch up on movies, Netflix, I would read and critique several friends' scripts, but more than anything I would simply relaxxx (porn subliminality unintended). I would be a normal human being, someone who woke up, worked, went home, watched a movie or two, and went to bed. And I would be all the better for it.

Cut to this morning. It only took four days for tragedy to strike. I was confused. I was disgusted. I hated myself. Rather than thinking proactive, healthy thoughts, my brain was pounding with irrational visions of growing a big beard, moving to some bohunk town in Western Maryland, and bailing on my plans to shoot DAYDREAM this October. Say huh? Will I ever learn? I'm about to turn thirty-three years old and I have less of a grasp on myself than a five-year-old who just guzzled a six-pack. This is ridiculous. Anyway, there is a happy ending to the story, so keep reading.

Panda Bear's PERSON PITCH might very well be my favorite record of 2007. But I slept too late and missed my chance to get tickets for his New York shows, so I figured I wouldn't get to see him for who knows how long. But then, on Tuesday, I remembered that he was playing Baltimore on Thursday (aka, tonight), so I sucked it up and bought tickets online. A good thing, too, because when I showed up at The Ottobar that mofo was sold out.

Joining me was Baltimore filmmaker Matthew Porterfield, who's HAMILTON just might be The Most Summerest Movie I've ever seen. Think about it. What movie most captures the feeling of summer to you? Having watched HAMILTON twice in the past week, I think HAMILTON is my number one (or it's at least at the top of the list alongside DO THE RIGHT THING). I almost wish there hadn't been any exposition, or any words spoken, for that matter, because the dialogue was actually distracting to me. HAMILTON is a film about that summer feeling, when it's only 11am but it feels like you've been up for ten hours already, when there's nothing to do but nothing, when time doesn't just stand still, it sits stuck. Special mention goes to MURDER PARTY writer/director/cinematographer Jeremy Saulnier and his hypnotizing cinematography, which has some downright stunning moments (the 360-degree pan of the kid walking through the woods to the highway has been added to my list of favorite one-takes ever).

Since I got Matt into the show, he returned the favor by getting me into a screening of OUT OF THE PAST at The Charles, which kicked off their summer film noir revival series. Check out the website for upcoming screenings. I had never seen OUT OF THE PAST, and I'm glad that I got to see it on the big screen. Robert Mitchum is his typically phenomenal self, and the screenplay is a crackling delight. Good, good stuff.

But then came the highlight of the night (and the point of this over-inflated post). We got to the Ottobar just in time to see Noah Lennox (aka, Panda Bear) unleash his dazzling sonic assault upon the Baltimore crowd. For some reason, I was expecting to be a tad underwhelmed, knowing that I was going to be watching some dude stand in front of a few samplers and singing into a microphone. But it exceeded my expectations. This was a truly inspiring spectacle. No goosebumps, perhaps, but it was enough to turn my mental frown into a physical grin, and rejuvenate me. Who knows how I'll feel tomorrow, when I wake up (in three short hours), but for now I feel quite electric and inspired. Thanks, Panda Bear!