For my first gig back post-COVID, I decided to mosey on down to Dr. Feelgood’s in Stockport for an dreamy evening with the indie-rock five-piece The Panamas. And I was certainly not disappointed. I scrawled down my thoughts on the 6th August gig on the back of a bus ticket. Behold…
Electric. This is truly the only phrase I could use to accurately describe the atmosphere here at The Panamas’ much anticipated EP Launch gig at Dr.Feelgood’s, Stockport, as the boys are fresh off the stage and the crowd are milling in excitement. It’s a sweltering summer’s night, and though we are sardines marinating in our own sweat – all in part thanks to the moshpit my pissed and peppy pint-wielding pit-partner Josh opened up during ‘Rita of Cascia’ – we simply cannot wipe the splitting smiles from our faces. This was an event that has truly reminded us all of the magic that local music can bring, and when it’s coming from five hardworking lads as likeable as these…well, the heart can’t help but swell in pride that our Stockport boys are going from strength to strength. The Panamas are going far, mark my words – they’re gospel, you know.
I’m perhaps a bit biased in my assertion that the Panamas are a excellent band because I’ve personally a long-time lover of them – not to be That Guy, but ‘Casanova’ has been pinned in my playlists since 2018. And yet, this has been my first time ever experiencing them live – and incidentally, my first gig for the first time post-panny d. And what a gig it has been. I had heard good things about them live, but after tonight I am convinced that they are really the perfect performers. They sound almost identical – if not better – than the EP; the unpolished DIY sound of playing a bar venue such as this works wonderfully with their more riotous offerings like ‘Beckoning Cat’, which lent itself to a pretty sick solo earlier on. The boys are blistering on the stage. Vocalist Charlie Andrew is effortlessly charming and confident, cracking jokes and professionally moving through any hiccups or blemishes of their performance without hesitation. A technical issue halted their thunderous Thin Lizzy cover of ‘The Boys Are Back In Town’ but Andrew laughed it off and seamlessly started again. There was something incredibly endearing about this admission and something even more impressive that their second attempt was so raw and, for want of a better phrase, rock ‘n’ bloody roll. Proper performers do anything they can to deliver the best show to their audience, and the Panamas really worked hard to make that happen. They really played to their fans, even asking us what we’d like as an encore – it showed a real admirable respect for the people that come out to see the band because at heart they simply adore their music.
Looking around now, all I can see is jovial expressions that match my own. The mood the entire evening has been of pure delight. The Panamas have a slightly younger fanbase I notice, and I for one love that. As great role models for budding music fans, these fellas more than fit the bill – talented, humble and more than anything, lovely. I’m watching guitarists Oscar Cameron and David Hughes mingle with their fans, laughing and chattering, and it is so pleasant to see their genuine gratitude for their fandom, I can’t express it. Josh and my boyfriend who dutifully accompanied me to a band they hadn’t fully delved into yet (fresh meat, if you will) are animatedly exchanging their favourite moments of the gig. Both new converted fans and old loyal fans were more than satisfied tonight, myself included. What more could the Panamas ask for from an EP Launch?
Technically speaking, the band are at the top of their game and tonight was more than a triumph in representing how skilled they are – considering this is their debut EP, we were bowled over. Lorenzo Nery was like a younger, less TNT-equipped Keith Moon on those drums. And on their performance of ‘Breathless’, Harry Bloor’s bass wowed and the concentration and craft was clear even in his face. I don’t know. I suppose I’m waxing lyrical now, and this review is beginning to pulsate with positivity at this point. But in honesty, I can’t help but feel like tonight is really the start of something special – and this buzzing sea of revellers asking “when’s the next gig?!” around me are really evidence of that. They’re popular gents and all I can predict from here (though I’m no Clinton Baptiste) is much like Yazz’s sentiment – The Only Way Is Up. Keep smashing it, boys. I can’t wait for your next live outing, and neither can anyone else.
The Panamas’ new self-titled EP is out NOW on all good streaming platforms, and can be listened to below. Stay tuned for an exclusive interview with the Stockport songbirds in the coming weeks.