Panda Bear is big enough to play Vicar Street now. That’s a bullet point in itself. When I was a youth, in the developmental stages of being a wanker about music, I used to hear people talk about Sigur Rós, a band I never really personally got into, and wonder how half the people who loved Sigur Rós were into Radiohead or things like that, and the other half possibly didn’t have another complete album in their possession. There’s something about music you can go to sleep to that unites the nascent snobs and the people who are destined to graduate from pop charts to latency period to retro compilation albums of pop charts.
So it is with Person Pitch. You can sleep to it. Some people like it more than any Animal Collective album (because they are lunatics) and it cracked the Pitchfork Top 10 albums of the 2000s alongside such marvels as the aforementioned Sigur Rós, Wilco and Arcade Fire. For the first reasonably accessible solo album of the guy who was once Just The Drummer in a band many people consider too pretentious to bother hearing, never mind listening to, it’s done pretty well.
So there’s a crowd, standing, looking at the Vicar Street stage. I’m in it. Last time I was there, I was marvelling at the pin-prick silences that I presumed Dublin crowds were incapable of, at Grizzly Bear. This time, perhaps owing to the narcotic hippie mumble of Kurt Vile acoustic, there were chats. But there were people. Lots of people. Some of whom presumably are not yet used to the process of steeling yourself against the hour of tape delay and re-imaginings AC can sometimes pull out.
I don’t know how they did with it. I heard some people say it was boring. It wasn’t boring, though. He only played one song off Person Pitch, but the songs he did play were, I think, better than Person Pitch. Or they will be, in the cold light of whenever it comes out. The songs were beat-driven, they were sanguine. They had a guitar in them that was even audible as a guitar rather than a swash-creation device sometimes. There was a song with some Benfica crowd chants, because why not.
It’s inevitable at a gig with music you haven’t heard before that it’s going to sound like it’s meandering a little, slightly formless, as a consequence of the human brain’s need for boundaries and all that shit. But this wasn’t spacey the way Person Pitch is. Person Pitch, before it sounds too much like I’m slating it, is an incredible album, but it does go on long walks quite often. LP4, on last week’s evidence, is not going to do that. An hour was not enough.