December 9th, 2013 Giant Panda: Why So Underrated?
I’m just going to come out and say it, because I can’t hold it in anymore. The most underrated band to ever hit the “reggae” scene is, call them Panda, Giant Panda, G.P.G.D.S or their full name Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad, but you can’t change the fact that they have been killing it for over a decade with a few changes here and there. I am not big on grouping or titling because we’re all individuals even when it comes to bands and genres because I feel like it holds many of them from stepping out of their comfort zone like reggae superstars SOJA, Rebelution, Slightly Stoopid, The Dirty Heads, just to name a few. I’m not denying that the following bands aren’t great live. All of them have killed it on stage, I’ve seen and heard it with my own eyes and ears but none of them are as diverse as Panda! Panda, doesn’t have a bad show, their passion doesn’t just stem through their music or their lyrics but their live shows. They deliver a product that’s always consistently tantalizing but never the same, they flow from song to song like it’s a natural occurrence, you don’t want them to stop and they don’t. Giant Panda isn’t just a reggae band, they are the essence of what live music should sound like.
You might be wondering why I’m writing this and it’s because I don’t quite understand the reggae scene. There is a lot of talent out there, and that’s no surprise but the reggae community seems to want to gather behind the same bands, delivering the same kind of sound each and every time. What differs Giant Panda from any other reggae band in the scene is their diversity, as many of you don’t know they released a Country/Bluegrass album in 2012 entitled “Country” and in that same year, they released a psychedelic reggae album called “In These Times”. What other band, who is known as a reggae band can release not just a Country album, but a kick ass one at that. Not many. These dudes push the envelope whenever they can. Their management is part of their family. Their relationship reminds me of that movie “Jerry Magurie”. If you haven’t seen it, watch it and you’ll know what I’m talking about. But it would be nice to see Panda! playing at a reggae festival, like California Roots because they’ve deserved it, you want to move your feet? You want your heart jump up and down in excitement and you want to turn to your friend and say, “Dude, these guys are fucking dope” than the band you need to see live is Panda!, Giant Panda, G.P.G.D.S or call them Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad because that’s who they are. I had the chance to see them in DC and brought two friends this time, who had never heard them or seen them live, let’s just say they were left wanting more.
by: Ryan McKeldin