Big Lovin’ Panda @ Club Good Hurt

Written By: Natalie Hamingson
Photos By: Karen Curley

View all of Karen’s Big Lovin’ Panda Photos here.

Big Lovin Panda Dose Out the Tunes at Club Good Hurt’s “Medicinal Mondays”

After funk pop-rock band Big Lovin’ Panda’s November 23rd show at Culver City’s Club Good Hurt, front man Alex Schneiderman remarked that it wasn’t one of their best performances, but I never would have guessed that the band’s impressive set was actually an off night for them.

So far this year, the Los Angeles band has enjoyed residencies at the Good Hurt for “Medicinal Mondays,” featuring Emilee Wilson’s Vertigirls, a non-stripping pole dancer troupe, and at the Unknown Theater in Hollywood, which will host the band’s release show on December 12th for their upcoming seven song EP, “Trinkets.”

The group started between guitarist Tony Ferrara and bassist Tal Weinman. Their name is the result of a misheard “otherwise unpronounceable intimate gesture” described by Tal to Tony over loud speakers at a concert. (When Tal clarified that “Big Lovin Panda” was not what he had said, Tony responded, “Either way, I want you to go home and do the big lovin panda, and report back to me tomorrow. “) Alex, who pays the bills by working as an audio engineer at The Roxy Theatre, was added to the mix in 2008. In 2009, Tony’s college buddy from USC, Sean Whalen was recruited on drums.

Big Lovin Panda is completely self-promoted and distributed, and Alex, says they want to keep it that way. On the band’s page, they describe their sound as “Disco blasting out of the rolled down windows of a hearse raised on monster truck wheels, with just married cans clanging melodically behind.”

While songs on the band’s MySpace playlist, such as “Change of Pace” don’t especially standout over computer speakers, their live songs sound like what radio should be playing. Tal’s funky bass lines make for groove-tastic music, accompanied by Alex’s vocals, which are sort of Brandon Boyd-esque when he’s not occasionally screaming.

Thus far, all of their material has been dispensed online. As I alluded to before, the songs available now do not do justice to Big Lovin Panda’s talent. Luckily, the sound on recent mixes of “Trinkets” pops much more than the compressed MySpace tracks.

Aside from being musically in tune with each other, the sharply dressed band was also stylistically in synch. Later that night, drummer Sean Whalen joked that the band’s two month business plan was to buy boots with funds earned from the EP, when photographer Karen Curley noted how well coordinated the band was.

Between songs, Alex held pole dancer roll call, as he announced each dancer’s arrival to the stage (“It’s Tiffany Time!”). Though Big Lovin’ Panda are fun to watch onstage, I have to admit it was sometimes difficult to keep my eyes on the band, with lingerie clad women performing incredible gymnastic feats in three-to-six inch platform heels off to the side.

The band will hit the road next spring, starting on the West Coast, and hopefully ending in Austin, Texas, where the band wish to play South by Southwest. Though the band is still waiting to hear if they are accepted, Texas native Sean says they may show up for the festivities, even if they aren’t formally invited.

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