Review: Grupo Fantasma concert kicks off Pangaea Live

Photo by Mari Hernandez

You’ve got to admit. We’re spoiled here in Austin. We’ve got the luxury of seeing live music in so many venues around town on any given night. So after checking out Grupo Fantasma play at Pangaea in the Warehouse District on Thursday, I’ve got to recommend you add this club to the list.

Pangaea’s Steven Seymour and Danny Crooks, Austin’s unofficial Mayor of Live Music (at least that’s what I like to call him), tricked out Pangaea’s swanky African lounge décor with a shiny new sound system and rock-star worthy stage complete with red curtain backdrop.

Not only was it Pangaea’s first night to kick off live music at the club, it was also a Grammy send off show for Grupo Fantasma before they left for the award show in LA.

What I like is how well the ‘two clubs in one’ idea works. Before Grupo took the stage, the audience hung out, drank and enjoyed the DJ. Once the band started, everyone simply moved up to the stage. But oh, yeah, there are rules.

The front row is for dancing,” one lady said off-hand to me as she stood in front of the band and talked with the photographer and me. Catty yes, but all you had to do was turn around to see this was true.

The first few rows in front of the stage were for the hardcore hip shakers, go a little further back and you’re in head bobber territory.

If standing for any amount of time is not your thing, plenty of abandoned seats were there for the taking. Oh, and no worries about missing out on the experience because, really, there is no bad seat in the place.

Whether you’re sitting in the back or right under the band’s noses, the sound makes it. Not so overpowering up front that it’s just a steady blare of music and distortion, but still enough umph to let people in the back still feel involved. Ah-mazing.

Pangaea’s starting their February live music launch strong with Vallejo and opening act Kalua on the 12th, Del Castillo on the 19th and The Stone River Boys on the 26th, so you can listen for yourself.

If for some crazy reason, none of these bands do it for you, keep up with their Pangaea Live! Myspace page, and purchase your tickets from Front Gate Tickets.

Angela Maldonado

Senior Editor - Angela Maldonado hails from Selena Town, aka Corpus Christi, but has made Austin her home since 2002. Her background is in journalism and radio, formerly serving as a producer for NPR’s Latino USA. In her stint with the show, she interviewed some awesome bands and had a nice chat with Joan Jett. In her previous life as a media gypsy, Angela wrangled huge inflatables on radio remotes, ran live broadcasts, promoted books and worked as an editorial assistant at the Austin American-Statesman.

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