Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Johnny Fountain & Panda Bandits reviewed in The Noise

The Noise, a music journal based in Boston that occasionally branches out into other parts of New England, recently published a nice review of Johnny Fountain and the Panda Bandits regarding their performances at the Johnny Cash Night at SPACE. You can read the full review here (it's about halfway down the page) or just cut to the good stuff by reading the excerpt below:

"The first act of the evening is Johnny Fountain, who stands center stage with his acoustic-electric guitar and is flanked by a drummer and a stand-up bassist. They perform “A Boy Named Sue,” and I’m impressed. Not only does Fountain move his whole body as he gets into the rhythm of the song, but his voice is crisp and deep. The entire audience is engaged and singing along. Johnny keeps with the momentum of the tune pretty closely, but chooses to disrupt the exactness as he belts out the last line—instead of saying that he’ll name his son anything but Sue, he says “I’ll name him Sue, I don’t care.” This tears a rip in my heart and I long to hear the original lyrics. However, Fountain does do an outstanding job throughout the rest of the song so I am not too upset with him.

The second band worth reviewing here tonight is the Panda Bandits, who ironically are the second band to hit the stage. This nine-piece band is insanely energetic. They’ve got two hand drums on stage left, a tambourine and a bass on stage right, an acoustic electric guitar in the back of the stage, and then the lead singer at center stage. Their cover of “Drums” is a cultural experience in itself. They fill the room with the pounding of drums, the stomping of feet, and backup vocals from the whole band. The lead singer gets so into the lyrics that his face mirrors desperation and his body is like a fish gasping for water. I mean this in a great way—Cash’s lyrics are heart achingly troubled. The singer tells us they were an “imaginary” band until tonight. I vote for them to remain a “real” band."

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