TOGETHER PANGEA + TALL JUAN + THE SIDE EYES + DADDY ISSUES @ THE EL REY THEATRE
Photos by Maximilian Ho Words by Madison Desler
There were a few tense minutes toward the end of together PANGEA’s show—a hometown sendoff at the El Rey before they embark on a massive US tour. Drummer Erik Jimenez stepped out from behind his kit to peer over the stage—frontman William Keegan and bass player Danny Bengston joining him with concern on their faces.
In the midst of all the moshing, crowd surfing, and wealth of stage diving their wild show produced, someone had gotten hurt—a female who either landed badly, was body-slammed a bit too hard, or got crushed under the weight of the big dude that kept getting up on stage to fall on people half his size.
She turned out to be a-ok, but it was an unfortunate halt in the wall-to-wall energy of the show they put on last night at the packed El Rey theater—a halt they managed to recover from almost immediately with “Too Drunk To Come”—an all-out, audio assault that had one blonde chick on her boyfriend’s shoulders singing along so passionately, it looked like her thighs were going to snap his neck off.
Since the band’s inception, they’ve perfected their own version of sour garage punk—the kind of high-octane, gasoline-soaked rock that hits all your pleasure centers with sticky melodies, power riffs, and break-neck speed. Add in bratty, snot-nosed vocals from Keegan and you’ve got the final piece in a formula that’s worked since the 70s—and continues to work with PANGEA-adjacent bands like the Black Lips, White Reaper, and the Frights. You can dance to it, mosh to it, do whatever you want to it, but God damn it’s going to make you move—the perfect music to experience live.
With Bulls and Roosters—their just-released album—together PANGEA have set themselves apart, filling it with slower tempos, stronger lyrics, and a wider variety of sounds than their previous efforts. Take the sunny “Money On It” which sounds like the next Twin Peaks standard, or the western-tinge of “The Cold,” which saw Lucas Gorham of the Memories brought to the stage to do the lap-steel honors (after which he proceeded to stand behind Jimenez’s kit stare into his phone, by the way).
That’s not to say the old together PANGEA never appears on the record. “Better Find Out” got the crowd just as hyped as old favorite “Looked In Too”—its lightening pace and trashy surf drums making it an instant classic in their canon. They played seven songs off the new album, the crowd’s excitement never wavering. “This is another new song—kind of a deep cut. Are you guys down with that?” Keegan asked, only to be met with a roar of approval. “Fuck yeah, I love you guys!,” he added, before launching the band into the Pixies-esque, alt-groove of “Is It Real?”
No matter how great the new songs are, they certainly weren’t going to take the place of standbys like “Make Myself True”—already massive on record but life-changing live—the bare-bones, Violent Femmes fury of “No Feelin,” and “Badillac”—the band’s calling card that brought all the Backstage Betties out to ride the wave. After blasting through 16 songs, the band barely left the stage before the “One more song” chants started. They obliged with not one, but three: “Alison”—an anthemic mid-tempo off of Bulls with Bengston on lead vocals—“Night of the Living Dummy” polished off with a chorus of the The Cranberries’ “Zombie,” and “River.”