For an electronic artist, it is refreshing to see Gold Panda take on an evening show akin to bands. For the standard that artists should make electronic music, then DJ or play a live set late at night in a club, he truly is in a league of his own. For this live show is much more than DJing his own tracks off his laptop and twisting a few knobs. He strips back his original productions to the bare bones and restructures them fully, Derwin is busy and engaged for the duration of the show. He is a shy character, not darting his eyes up once to measure the crowd’s reaction or seek any kind of approval.
His album released back in June, Half of Where You Live was met with mixed reviews. I personally put that down to the fact its complexity requires a few listens to interpret and appreciate what he’s trying to portray. He opened with ‘We Work Nights’ and ‘Brazil’, rousing the room with additional anthemic ornaments. His tracks have been described as a kind of musical storytelling, and his live versions gave these stories a fresh context and different characters. The recurring edit he would make were new segments towards the end of tracks. They sounded so unrelated to the main body that I was fooled into thinking it was a new track coming into the mix. He would then deliver a reprise of the chorus – it was delightful in so many ways.
The highlight for me was his live rendition of ‘You’, one of his hits from Lucky Shiner released back in 2010. He tapped the riff out live on a pad, screwing with it, even pitching it down to the original sample from which he sculpted it. He played through a variety of edits of the main sequence and bridges, each sounding as fresh as the next – the atmosphere peaked by the final reprise. I must note that something wasn’t quite right about Gorilla’s sound system; it lacked the power from subs to really deliver the warm sweeping bass lines featuring on Gold Panda’s tracks and was lost in the overhead PA speakers as a muffled roar. I can’t take anything away from him, only from Gorilla. He has successfully brought live electronic music into an evening show context, moving his work away from the late night clubs where live electronic music is usually showcased. He has separated himself from the pack and I hope other artists follow his lead.