The Stranger, November 7, 2002

By Megan Seling

I just wanted to go home and crawl into bed. But Zac Pennington, the mastermind behind Slender Means Society (and my co-worker), convinced me that missing Slender Means' show would be plain stupid. So I braved the cold and my bad mood and dragged my ass to the Vera Project.

I walked in just as Portland's Bobby Birdman took the stage--and let me just say, he had me at the Pauly Shore impersonations. It didn't take long for my little crush-at-first-sight to evolve into a heart-fluttering, weak-in-the-knees attraction, because as soon as he launched his first song I knew I was going to really enjoy the next half-hour. Maybe it was the adorable curly hair paired with a friendly smile, because I'm not usually one to fall prey to such simple folk-rock sounds. His clean, pretty voice...watching him alone onstage with only a bass guitar... sigh. I was a girl in love.

But young love is fleeting, and I have the attention span of a gnat, so just like that--b-bam! Bobby who? It was all about Panther. Panther, another Portlander, took the stage, living up to every good word I had heard prior to the show. "He's gonna be your new favorite thing." "It's all about Panther." They were all right.

About six foot two, clad in black, Panther hit the play button on his "band" (really a CD player booming pre-recorded funk beats) and the spectacle began. His songs, filled with pops, wahs, hollers, and yeows, all matched with dramatic and hilarious facial expressions, made for quite a spectacle--in a brilliant way. Even without the dance moves it'd be a riot to listen to. But with the dance moves--oh man. That's what did me in. While I'm not big on dancin' myself, watching a man who can--well, there's nothin' sexier. And boy, can Panther dance. So much so that he had just about everybody in the place shakin' something, whether they wanted to or not. And those not dancing (shame on you) were at least smiling and laughing and loving every moment the man was onstage.

I could've left happier than ever after Panther and what's-his-name, but I stuck around for the Badger King (they were kicking off their national tour) and Anna Oxygen (whom I've mentioned before and love, love, love). Unfortunately, I caved to my fatigue before Casiotone for the Painfully Alone began their set, and left before my "in love with everything" mood faded.

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