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Gold Panda w/ Seams & Minotaur Shock – XOYO, London 02/03/11

06 March 2011, 20:00 | Written by

Love it or hate it, XOYO is the venue du jour at the moment, and tonight it plays host to splicer-and-dicer du jour, Gold Panda.

First, Seams takes to the stage in front of just a handful of people – but the early birds more than make up for a lack of numbers, creating a cosy little huddle in front of the stage. The man also known as James Welch deftly blends traditional song structures and electronica to make his music instantly listenable. He chucks in the odd complex cross rhythm to make the audience furrow their brow a bit, before returning to a more manageable head-bobbing beat.

The audience do their best with some early evening, self-conscious movement, but it seems they’re saving themselves for mega hands-in-the-air action later. One person who does appear to be enjoying the good beats though is none other than James Yuill.

Seams’s beats take in a range of sounds and genres, from low-down rumbling synth swirlings offset by high-register plinky glock sounds in his opening track, to a harpsichord inspired number. A subtle and effortlessly classy opening to the evening.

Follow Seams’s perfect support slot execution is Minotaur Shock, an entirely different species. The Bristol duo are comprised of a black box of tricks and a real-life violin. Their abstract instrumental sound is reminiscent of a film soundtrack, it feels as though there should be something going on in the background. The live drums later on in their set inject a bit of life into proceedings, however, the 80s power chord sequence that accompanies it doesn’t. The track played exclusively on bike horns is certainly entertaining, but it all requires a little too much concentration.

The venue is now full to capacity and then some – there’s barley room for the die-hards to lift their arms above their head, let alone whip out a big-fish-little-fish-cardboard box. Gold Panda takes to the stage with hood up, all business.

The big album blockbusters like ‘You’, ‘Marriage’ and ‘Vanilla Minus’ induce much screaming and whooping from the crowd, especially with their live reworking, giving them an unpredictable feel. The push and pull on the synth line of ‘Vanilla Minus’ transforms it into an exciting audience tease, and the epic sounding ‘Snow & Taxi’s’ is undoubtedly the highlight of the night.

Halfway through the show, Derwin runs off stage, as if he’s just remembered he’s left the oven on. Turns out he’s actually forgotten to plug something in. It’s a sign of some of the fairly hefty nerves he’s no doubt feeling tonight, playing one of his biggest headline gigs to date. A couple of errors do creep in, but are barely noticeable.

With limited audience banter, Gold Panda is clearly completely absorbed in his craft, commanding the decks like his life depended on it. The varied and clearly carefully-considered set has the perfect combination of highs and lows, and hangs together brilliantly as one fluid piece. The projections at the back of the stage add to this, turning it into a full performance rather than just a dj set or a gig.

All in all, it’s a stellar performance from Gold Panda. It’s a shame that he can’t quite carry the audience with him for the entire show, but the rapturous reaction for the album favourites is more than enough to make this a triumphant evening.

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