Photos / Live Review: Imperial China, Pandas, Caverns @ the Ottobar (2008.12.22)


Photo credit: Greg Szeto

Two of DC’s premiere noise-makers trekked up to Baltimore for a decently populated, Monday-before-Christmas early show at the Ottobar.  I walked into a brightly lit Ottobar (the likes of which I have only seen at closing time and the occassional dance party) scarcely past 8:30, and Caverns were already mid-set.  Luckily, I walked in to the closing strains of “Dance you son of a bitch,” one of the best cuts from the forthcoming Kittens! EP.  Caverns sounded a bit off, slight tuning issues with the guitar and some rhythm irregularities.  But the last two songs of their set really locked in…particularly set closer “This Are Syntax.”

The aimless wanderings of Lancaster PA’s Pandas proved to be more than a bit of a turn-off.  With little to no linearity or time devoted to developing any one groove, it was like listening to a bunch of one-liners strung together with no apparent theme.  A technically proficient prog-wank, they schizophrenically blasted all over from a third-wave ska backbeat to metal cliche to self-indulgent prog, all at balls-to-the-wall rock pacing and volume.  The contrast to Caverns’ set just before was unfavorable for Pandas and accentuated a relative lack of song-writing.

Imperial China followed and showed Pandas how it should be done.  Leading off with the fantastic new track “Mortal Wombat,” a fuzz-and-drone track with relentless rhythm that really showcases everything Imperial China can do.  Like Caverns, Imperial China had a bit of a warm-up period before their playing really locked in, with a bit of asynchrony between percussion lines slipping in here or there early on.  But instrumental track “Radhus” proved again why it is the current fan-favorite live, tightening the group’s playing while growing from a frenzied, post-rock dervish filled with crunchy drones and punctuated by futurist bits and pieces to a post-punk inspired breakdown.

But enough blather, hear what you missed or remember what transpired with these live audio offerings:

Caverns’ set and Imperial China’s set

And check out the photos below or in the Flickr album:


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Imperial China


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5 Responses to “Photos / Live Review: Imperial China, Pandas, Caverns @ the Ottobar (2008.12.22)”

  1. amish armada says:

    Say what you want about Pandas’ music, but their mustaches were top notch.

  2. matt says:

    I think Hanson had similar mustaches on their first tour. See below for a truly top notch mustache. http://sports.blogue.canoe.com/mediam/SPO-RollieFingers%5B2%5D.jpg

  3. Amish Adam says:

    Prog-wank for the win!

  4. Barry says:

    Someone did not get hugged enough as a child…Pandas make the girls wanna get knocked up, I have seen it happen.

  5. Ross says:

    Tom Clancy has sneaky balls.

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