Panda Bear and Sonic Boom played the Paradise – 7/18

Animal Collective’s Panda Bear and onetime Spaceman 3 Sonic Boom brought their summer tour to Boston with support from Braxe + Falcon.


Noah Lennox and Pete Kember – the experimental pop wizard and the psychedelic veteran who go by the stage names of Panda Bear and Sonic Boom – share a creative history that now stretches more than a decade back. Kember had a hand in the production of Lennox’s 2011 LP Tomboy and its followup Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper – both great-sounding records that teased what a more full-fledged collaboration between the two might offer. Last year, they followed through on that notion with the sunny, sample-heavy Reset – the first release credited equally to both artists. The results are perhaps less of a mysterious haze than a fusion of these two’s aesthetics might suggest on paper, but what Reset does deliver is a pretty ideal summer listen that reconfigures vintage pop spare parts into quirky, catchy new songs.

Fittingly enough for a warm-weather project, the duo picked July to take these tunes on the road in North America. Lennox makes the rounds as a solo artist and with his main band pretty regularly, but these shows were grounds for some rather rare onstage appearances by Kember – pretty cool in and of itself for the psych-rock aficionado (Spacemen 3 never did make it stateside back in the day – not that many of us in the audience would’ve been old enough to catch them in ’89 anyhow).

The pair took to their Paradise set at two podiums of gadgetry, immediately subsumed in colorful projections that evoked the playfulness of the songs, and performed Reset‘s nine tracks front to back. In contrast to the sometimes droning, freeform nature of Lennox’s solo shows, the set was tight and bright, with the two trading off vocals, noisemaking and handclaps. The show’s second half / extended encore featured a few solo cuts from both artists, spotlighting Kember’s 2020 release All Things Being Equal and reaching way back to Lennox’s classic Person Pitch for “Comfy in Nautica.” No “Bros” for us, sadly – they saved that one for a few nights later at Knockdown Center.

Prior to Lennox and Kember manning their stations, French house duo and Daft Punk associates Braxe + Falcon warmed up the room with an agreeably groovy DJ set and a party-starting attitude, which included pouring shots of Grey Goose to the front row, Bob Pollard-style.

Scroll below for some trippy photos from the whole gig.