Retro video game nerds, don't get too excited. Friday's guest act at the Vagabond has nothing to do with the mostly forgotten Nineties Nintendo game, but rather has appropriated the moniker, a la Crystal Castles, to broadcast a fascination with retro bleeps and bloops. The multicolor, 8-bit style graphics festooning Panic Bomber's various web presences should give you a clue as to where the project's influences lie: in the golden era of electro, acid funk, and anything that involved a vocoder. What's impressive, though, is that Richard Haig, the brains behind the motherboard, doesn't get mired in all-too-easy Daft Punk ripoffs. Rather, his sound is surprisingly lush, smoother and more melodic than
the current crop of electro-house-producers-come lately.
There's a real musicality, even a pop undercurrent, to the six tracks on Panic Bomber's debut demo, Calling In Threats. So it's no surprise, then, to learn via Haig's treatise on his MySpace page that he's a former, um, organic musician, who's taken on this new mantle as some kind of act of defiance. I have played in live bands in Miami where the band has gotten cut off early at a show because the DJ is scheduled to 'play,' he complains in his mission statement. Fair enough. So as an act of protest, he has become a live dance music act that performs in the DJ booth. Well, whatever. Part of the fun will be in monitoring how much of his synthetic sound Haig can reproduce on the fly.
To check out more of his music, visit his MySpace page, or visit fellow South Florida music blog Off the Radar, which recently posted a couple of MP3s off Panic Bomber's recent demo, Calling In Threats.
Friday, January 9, The Vagabond, 30 NE 11th St., Miami. Doors open at 10 p.m.. Admission is free before midnight; $5 from midnight to 3 a.m. Ages 21+ with ID. 305-379-0508; www.thevagabondmiami.com.
-- Arielle Castillo