Black Panda PR sure knows how to throw a party. Upon walking in, I was presented with a tote bag that said “Fuck Off, Rock On,” shown to a table of Magnolia Cupcakes, and given a panda mask. Needless to say, this was already a great time. I found myself a nice spot up front with my favorite boss, Mr. Shayne Hanley, and prepared to get ready for the sweet lineup ahead, full of extremely exciting Black Panda bands.
First up was herMajesty, who opened up with their brand new single, “My Body Your Mind.” They were completely enchanting, as the slightly psychedelic vibes were filling the room. One of my favorite songs from their set was “World Smiles,” which was more driving and upbeat. The bass was strong, and the reverberating electric guitar beautifully melded with the honest and gripping vocals. These guys did a great job opening up the night, and I was very excited for Tribe Society to hit the stage next.
The first things I noticed about Tribe Society was the flute. If you’re thinking Jethro Tull, you’re wrong. They opened with “Cove Walker,” and completely blew me away as the flute echoed the falsetto of the vocals. It’s a sound I’ve never heard before, and a sound I never expected to grace my ears. This, my friends, is the beauty of live music. It’s innovation at its best! “Kings” was a hit, and their harmonies were on point. My favorite track of theirs from the evening had to have been “Ego,” which surprised me with an almost R&B feel. When I was unsure if I could like these guys any more than I already did, they broke out into cut time. As a drummer and an advocate of some solid rhythm, Tribe Society has all of my respect.
Up next was Secret Weapons. The energy was off the charts, and the guys were exhibiting some excellent dance moves during their opening number, “Perfect World.” The crowd absolutely loved their style and their grooves. Before moving on to “Pressure,” the lead vocalist said, “I’m feeling frisky, so I don’t know what’s going to happen!” These guys started out great, but they just kept giving me more reasons to like them. Joined by three talented ladies on backing vocals, Secret Weapons really came alive. “Power” was probably my favorite song from their set. Between the presentation, the tight sound, and the booming chorus, the energy was so high it was electric. The crowd chanted along, repeatedly singing, “Power!” and that’s truly the best name for the song in theory and in reality.
Band after band is new and exciting, and I was absolutely loving this Black Panda lineup. The love just kept on flowing as Atarah Valentine hit the stage. The funk rock vibes along with the catchy melodies were easy to enjoy. As they played “Forever Young,” I felt like I was back in college, rolling down the window on the passenger side of the car on the way to spring break. That’s exactly how the track made me feel. The energy was high on stage and throughout the Marlin Room. Another one I appreciated all too much was “Vacation.” The vocals rang out, “I need a vacation!” As the month of October is slipping by us, I think many of us can commiserate with those lyrics. These guys were awesome and I loved their style.
The Mosers took the stage next, and to say I was excited is the understatement of CMJ. The crowd was ready and the band was even more ready to blow minds and take names. Every song they played was awesome, but I’ll do my best to pick a few highlights in a group of epic highlights. “Cold Hearted Girl” rocked so hard. It felt so great to hear epic classic rock tunes coming through the speakers on this fine evening. It was hard for me to take notes because I was completely compelled to dance during the entire set. Lead singer, Mikey Pellegrino proceeded to casually flip off the right side of the crowd for not being loud enough. With that encouragement, as he announced, “on the count of three, I want you to fucking scream,” he was met with astounding accolade. After they played “Taking All The Love,” I officially decided that these guys are the epitome of cool in every single way. If it was any possible for The Mosers to be any cooler, they proved it as they covered the Buggles classic, “Video Killed The Radio Star.” I was speechless in the best of ways. The night had truly become a party. They closed with “Friend,” which was counted in by the entire crowd. They casually proceeded to rock our faces off. The highlight moment of the night had to have been when the Young Rising Sons ran up on stage to casually sing and jam with them. These guys will all be touring together starting in a couple of weeks. I’d highly recommend catching one of those shows!
The vibe of the room completely changed as Olivver The Kid took the stage. Their electric reverb was off the charts and their slow jam backing tracks made you want to move in an entirely different way. They took me completely by surprise when they played “Blue” as a mash up with Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home.” It was such a cool and innovative mash up, which demanded the attention of the audience. The highlight from their set was “Lucy.” This sensual track had the whole crowd enveloped in excitement. I watched as the die-hard fans mouthed every word the song. I wasn’t too familiar with Olivver The Kid before the evening’s events, but that song and performance made me a big fan.
Up next was East Love. The guys opened with “Better Than,” which included vocal solos by lead singer, Lukas Effman, as well as guitar and bass players, Robbie Fink and Alex Goldstein. Their vocal harmonies are nothing short of beautiful. Later, they lifted the spirits in the room with a cover of Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.” Effman’s vocals shined as he belted a line we all know and love, “she’s got class and style…” One of their newest singles, “Unbroken,” was sweet and absolutely lovely to listen to. Especially after “No Diggity,” “Unbroken” kept their set fresh and exciting, even on the slower paced tracks. They dropped a new song in “Firefly,” which was adorable. This “never heard before” pop track played very well live. These guys are great songwriters, and each new song they release is just as impressive as the last. One of the coolest covers of the evening existed in East Love’s set as they did Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” coupled with Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” I was loving it, the crowd was loving it, and even though it was getting late for a Wednesday evening, they brought the energy back in full force with that one. They closed with their first single “Little Less,” which was a crowd pleaser. These guys will be headlining at the Brooklyn Bowl in January, and I encourage you to grab your tickets for that as soon as possible!
Last, but certainly not least, Anna Rose hit the stage. I was already a big fan of hers, as this was the second time I had seen her perform. She blew me away the first time in an acoustic set, and now, with a full band, she was ready to rock, and that is exactly what she did. Anna Rose’s vocal talents far exceed anything I could describe. One of my favorite songs from the set was “Electric Child.” She truly is the “electric child,” and her riff heavy jams permeated the walls of Webster Hall. Her charisma makes her even more exciting to watch. I loved her new track, “Shit’s Fucked Up.” Her bluesy croon brings me back to the days of Heart and Janis Joplin. She perfectly melds rock ‘n’ roll with classic blues. This girl is a complete badass. Her vocal growl is wildly soulful, and when she played “Because You’re Mine,” my mouth dropped at least five times as her talent is truly a joy to experience. Closing the night with “Los Angeles” allowed this firecracker to go out with a bang. The night came to an end, and Black Panda PR proved to have quite the impressive roster and to throw a pretty great party.
Article: Alex Feigin
Photos: Shayne Hanley