Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad
Thursday, May 10, 2012 10:00 PM EDT
(9:30 PM Doors)
Grog Shop, Cleveland Heights, OH
After five years on the road, Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad’s progressive live show has made them one of the most embraced bands by concert-goers and the taper community. Their show recordings have been downloaded over 175,000 times from taper-friendly website archive.org.
Formed in Rochester, New York, GPGDS found common ground through their love of live music, the bass-heavy rhythms of reggae, and long winters spent in a Northeastern industrial city. Collective jam sessions and loosely booked gigs saw the group performing with an evolving lineup. Taking summer road trips to festivals around the country, the band started playing in festival parking lots and campgrounds. These renegade "guerilla" shows would eventually develop into an intense touring cycle.
While the band was quickly placed into the reggae genre after the release of their debut studio album "Slow Down" (2006), Giant Panda has continually pushed the boundaries of this classification. Perhaps said best by online music communityJamBase "The five masterful musicians weave layers of complex music within a reggae framework and may be one of the most diverse bands in the genre." However their music is defined, GPGDS is all about the connection between musician and audience in the live experience.
In 2006, Giant Panda set out to take their guerilla dub shows on the road. While the band explores and interprets their own music differently from night to night, their compositions rely on strong lyrics and melodic chorus patterns. Adamant that an electronic signal cannot create the same vibration as a real instrument, they travel with a vintage Hammond Organ, and other analog gear. "There's no binary code going on in any of our music" explains GPGDS bassist James Searl. "Actual vibrations send a much more specific sound wave to people's bodies and ears. This affects them physiologically…analog makes a more direct communication."
Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad has played over 760 shows in the past six years, touring relentlessly and developing a widespread grassroots following. They launched their live music website LivePanda.com in September 2010, showcasing high-quality, hand picked recordings. Facilitated by longtime sound engineer Joel Scanlon and the recent addition of guitarist Dan Keller, GPGDS continues to explore new territories of psychedelic roots music and experimental dub.