Review: Panama Wedding bring a forced, yet pleasant show to The Basement

On a rainy Friday night, there’s nowhere better to be at a concert. Panama Wedding’s performance in Columbus’ Basement proved to be a good escape from the weather.

PC: All Things Go

Sun Seeker, the opening band from Nashville, Tennessee, started off the night with a relaxed performance. Sun Seeker’s sound felt like laid-back classic rock filled with harmonies, quite different from the indie-pop of Panama Wedding.

I always appreciate a well fitting opening band and Sun Seeker seemed to be a great one. At the beginning of the performance, the band’s songs flowed together and there was never a moment of silence, which I appreciated.

Later on in the set, the lead singer entertained the audience with funny quips between songs, quietly urging everyone in the audience to follow them on Instagram. No matter how good a band is, if they have no stage presence I quickly lose interest. Sun Seeker captured that interest with their pleasing tunes and funny stage persona.

After seeing Panama Wedding two other times as openers for other bands, I was excited to see what they would do with a headlining performance. Although they had plenty of time to play a full and complex set, it turned out that they did pretty much the same thing they did when they played as an opener with nothing more to offer.

They played material off their two EPs, but with just nine songs to choose from, their set was bare. They got the crowd dancing with the seasonally appropriate “Feels Like Summer” but it was clear that the audience was there to hear two of their most popular songs, “Infinite High” and, of course, “All Of The People.”

Lead singer Peter Kirk’s stage banter was more awkward in comparison to the humorous display on stage by Sun Seeker. Nonetheless to liven up the room, Kirk gave the audience a treat by playing a new song. While he explained that they may not release that new song, the crowd seemed to think they should.

I personally hate when bands play unreleased music, but I had a great time dancing to Panama Wedding’s new track. Though they had the time and space to play a longer set than they did as an opening band, Panama Wedding’s set was a quick 40 minutes before returning for a brief encore that felt very forced.

When they came back from being offstage for less than a minute, they played a cover of Paul Simon’s “You Can Call Me Al” which was surprisingly perfect for Kirk’s voice. While the audience was mellow for most of the set, during their final song, “All Of The People,” the audience danced and sang enough to shake the venue.

As a whole, Panama Wedding’s performance lacked the depth that I look for in my favorite live shows, which was probably because most of their songs have the length and structure of a single.

I would love to see Panama Wedding write and release an album with variation in the songs, but for now I enjoyed myself in the pop excitement of their first two EPs.

You can listen to Panama Wedding on Spotify below.

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