Monday, August 17, 2009

Panda Bandits, Ready?

After disappearing to the woods from the end of July to the beginning of August, Waisely "Scar" Lighthead and Marie "Minnie" Pistola returned as the Panda Bandits to Portland on Wednesday, August 12th.

The show was part of Bryan Bruchman's great series of free concerts taking place every Wednesday at SPACE Gallery in the month of August. You can find out more information at Bryan's always informative blog, Hilly Town.

The Panda Bandits first assembled in February to play a single song for the Johnny Cash Tribute Night (also at SPACE). Since then, we've been biding our time, waiting for the right moment to come back and play a full set. Therefore, we are very thankful to Bryan and SPACE for giving us this great opportunity to perform again.

The show kicked off with great sets from the always dependable Jesse Pilgrim and Boston-based Dan Wholey, who was accompanied by two women playing violin and slide guitar. He had a great voice and good songs and I hope he rolls through Portland again soon.

Then it was time for the Panda Bandits to come back. Besides Minnie and myself, the Panda Bandits include a roster of many of my favorite musicians, who I implore you to check out:

Johnny Fountain (of the Manes) played guitar for us and made sure I started singing at the right time.
Patrick Dennis (of Blaque Boose), in his enigmatic bear mask, kept the beat on bass.
Sontiago produced the beats for Alicia's "Mop Song", rapped on Johnny's song "Henry Ford Is Coming Back", and helped choreograph the mop dance.
Aly Spaltro (of Lady Lamb the Beekeeper) played banjo and, for the first time on stage, electric bass.
Roy Ghim (of Bird in the Rafters) not only played a variety of percussion put also whipped out his Afri-can- a gerry-rigged oilcan that plays like a guitar.
We were also joined by Ian Riley (Anna's Ghost), Don Dumont (Dead Man's Clothes), Lori Dennis, Erin Enberg, and Jesse Pilgrim who all played a variety of instruments (hammers, singing saws, tambourines, flutes, bicycles, etc).

We will likely be returning to SPACE in late September, so be on the lookout for the Bandits. The good fellows at [dog] and [pony] were also there filming, so some footage or audio tracks might come out eventually. Their site is also always worth checking out.

There are also a number of great shows coming up, including Big Blood at the Aphodian tonight. The next Hilly Town Presents Off Stage at SPACE features the killer line-up of Phantom Computers (Phantom Buffalo + Computer at Sea), out-of-towners Happy Machine, and Dead End Armory. It's this Wednesday and it is free.

I will sadly miss the legendary cd release show of Samuel James' third full-length, but you should make a point of being there- Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Sontiago, Dana Gross, White Light, Micah Blue Smaldone, and many others will all be performing songs from the album. And, of course, the man himself will be playing, and he is one of this city's true entertainers.

Until next time.

-Waisely Lighthead

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