Panda Bear Theatre Rialto, Montreal QC, September 20

Panda Bear Theatre Rialto, Montreal QC, September 20
Photo: Steve Louie
The laws of fantasy and reality may have been permanently altered after the luminous spectacle that took place in a packed Theatre Rialto last night (September 20). Ten minutes after Blues Control's set, the lighting dimmed and thick, bubbly clouds appeared on the giant screen. The crowd lost their minds once the illusive Panda Bear emerged from the corner and began to soothe the crowd with some tranquil samples of rain water. The visuals transported Noah Lennox into an aquatic landscape along with the fans, who swam through warm, flowing textures. A dream bubble quickly popped once blinding hues of purple and pink filled the stage and some murky hip hop beats replaced the nature sounds.

This is the unpredictability of Panda Bear's forthcoming album, Panda Bear Meets Grim Reaper, an omen floating in the ether, still yet to materialize in any form other than its live incarnation. A 90-minute set of mostly new material didn't disappoint the crowd, most of whom were dancing with their eyes closed, blinded by piercing flares of multi-colour that beamed from the stage. Lennox's boisterous range catapulted through the venue, his lush, distorted echoes carried through fits of off-kilter acid house, kicking the bass up to the point that the floors shook so hard, the crowd couldn't stop moving if they wanted to.

As the set wound down, Lennox called to the heavens for a glistening harp sample that shone through his sombre tones as fans looked on with big smiles and closed eyes. A huge mouth appeared on the screen for the finale, as big patches of fuzz continued to ascend over muffled words from the mysterious mouth. Without warning, an epic flare swallowed the room, leaving nothing left at the end but Panda Bear giving a thank you to Blues Control, the visual artists and the crowd before exiting to the crowd's monstrous ovation.

Almost immediately, the packed room stomped for an encore, which they got after about five minutes when Lennox returned onstage. Two dazzling offerings from Tomboy made the crowd very happy and by the end of the encore, everyone watched as Lennox made his dramatic finale exit, leaving them lost in a rippling, oceanic outro as waves of cerulean washed through the screen and his monumental set came to a close.