PantyRaid – March 2nd – The Fillmore Auditorium

The Scene: A Saturday night stroll down Colfax allows you to run into a wide variety of different crowds, and this night was no different.  They were young, wild and free and dressed the part.  I had to shiver just looking at some of the scantily clad 20 somethings waiting anxiously to get in to The Fillmore and huddling in tight formations to ward of the chilly breeze of an early March night.  Once inside, the music was plenty to keep you moving as they lit the proverbial dance flames under our toes and kept the place vibrating until close.

Opener: Cherub. As I walked into the room, the Electro-Pop duo Cherub was setting up shop and just settling into an 80’s inspired set that was luring the crowd toward the stage.  Their steady beats and funky riffs were driven by lead guitarist Jordan Kelley, his Prince falsetto and widely used talkbox setup.  Their original songs like “Doses and Mimosas” and “XOXO” fell flat for me, mostly due to their lack of lyrical prowess, but the group has no lack of on-stage swagger, and Kelley took a mini set break to take swigs from a champagne bottle.   The transitions in between tracks were rough and sadly rhythm guitarist and singer Jason Huber didn’t seem to have a real handle on the custom made technology that he used to cue beats and samples.  The highlight of the set were covers of Daft Punk’s “Around the World” and Calvin Harris’ “Feel So Close” which brought a cheer of recognition from the crowd and got heads bouncing before the main event.

PantyRaid: This duo of Dubstep and Glitch-Hop producers consists of purple synth impresario MartyParty and Ooah of the The Glitch Mob.   The tandem was formed after what they thought would be a onetime collaboration in 2008 that began gaining steam and praise for the unique combination of sound that each bring to the studio and the stage.  To the best of my knowledge, the stage name for the two of them comes from an old frat house gag, and they certainly bring in a crowd that matches that description.  The audience was young, and more than ready to party by the time that they took to the stage with their crew of dancers.

Both DJs were sporting flat-billed caps, cocked to various different angles throughout the set.  They started things off with a new Moombahton inspired track with blaring Samba horns that immediately took the pace to a fever pitch.  With the crowd now fully invested, they showcased their dancers, four women in daisy duke’s who could have been fresh from a turn of the century rap video shoot.  Some good booty shaking is certainly the point of seeing PantyRaid play live, but the live dance element lost my interest pretty quick and made me think that it’s better to leave the dancing to the swaths of paying customers.

The LED screen and light setup was massive, and even bigger than what they had brought to town last year.  The PantyRaid logo was heavily used in the light show, which initially made the 30-foot wide screen seem like a waste of amazing technology.  As the set continued, the videos became much more dynamic and added a great visual aid to the booming bass laden tracks.

It has been a few years since PantyRaid has delivered any fresh tunes for their fans, but their upcoming release was the impetus for this current tour.  Their last album, The Sauce, is one that I have played over and over again due to its raw power and intelligent production value.  Throughout the night, as the boys would introduce a track as one from the new album, it felt to me like they are heading in a different direction.  Their older songs contained a visceral differentiation between the two artists, with Marty’s bold and sexy bass laid over Ooah’s glitch craftsmanship.  The new songs come from a place where the two seem to have met in the middle.  808 drumbeats are very much in vogue right now, and PantyRaid is following the trend of the times.  If you’re into the electronic music world you’ve undoubtedly heard the genre label “trap,” emulating a southern Rap sound with siren synths and drop after drop that makes you feel like you’re living out a real life Harlem Shake video.  The new tunes are certainly something you can dance to, but they pale in comparison to the likes of “Beba” and “Get Da Money” from years past.

Even with all of the lighting gear and eye candy that they brought along with them, they seemingly struggled at times to keep the crowd’s attention.  The dance party on the stage between the performers notwithstanding, the consistent calls for the audience to “keep the dance party going” were a direct indication of everyone’s reactions to the new songs.  Only toward the very end of the night did they seem to truly find their rhythm when they displayed a new song that contained Conga and world drum sounds.  It was a fresh take on what they had rinsed and repeated over the course of the set and made me wonder why they didn’t include more of it.  Ingenuity and originality are paramount in the EDM world, and a lot of what they cranked out through the speakers seemed less adventurous than what sprang from this melding of bass music minds in the past.

The majority of the crowd got what they were looking for; some sexy, sensual bump and grind music laid over fairly repetitive boom-clap beats.  What PantyRaid displayed was club Hip-Hop on steroids, with remixes of Britney Spears and Fergie’s “Glamorous” featured prominently.  By the time the set was done, and the dance crew had tossed thousands of panties into the front rows, I had had my fill of the rhythmic “hey” and “what!?” that reminded me more of Lil’ Jon than I would’ve appreciated.  All in all it was a good show, but didn’t live up to what they had brought to town last year.  The two producers undoubtedly have busy touring and production schedules, but here’s to hoping that they spend a little more time working up something adventurous and new when they get back in the studio on the next go-round.

Energy: B
Musicianship: B
Sound: B+
Stage Presence: B+
Set/Light Show: B+

Overall: B