My night onstage as the dancing Panda

I was planning to attend the Head Like A Kite show last Friday night at Neumos when they played with The Redwood Plan, Chaos Chaos and Vox Mod. You should check out all of those bands. A couple of days before the show, I decided to write the band and ask if I could be the dancing Panda who joins them on stage at every show. They said yes.

I have seen HLAK perform several times and always wanted to be the Panda. I arrived at the venue a little early to talk with Dave from HLAK and find out what exactly was expected. I was greeted by a very friendly gentlemen working security. He looked at me and asked, “Have you ever been the Panda here before?”

“Uhhh no,” I said.

“All right, there are a few things we need to cover. Once you get dressed you won’t be able to see anything, so I will help you up the stairs so you don’t fall getting on stage. Try to stay in one area so you don’t trip or knock anything over, and when you are done I will help you down,” he explained.

This was the moment when I realized what I had gotten myself into. My job was to put on a costume that basically made me blind, dance on stage and find a way to take a show that was already super high energy and turn it up a notch. My dancing skills are not strong (or present at all) so the idea of getting on stage in front of a few hundred people and trying to dance blind was kind of terrifying.

Two songs into the set, I suited up and got ready to do my part. As I was helped onto the stage, one thing was very clear to me, I was going to fall down. I kept trying to remember how many steps there were to climb. Was it three or four? To my surprise it was four. As I climbed the steps my stomach dropped from the nerves, but then I could hear people start cheering. They love the panda!

I got to my spot and started to dance. I realized I knew the song and started singing along inside my giant panda head. Then I realized that nobody knew who I was and I really started getting into it.

After a couple of songs, I left the stage and then went back out to dance some more at the end of the set. When it was over I was sad to part ways with panda. That was the most fun I’d had in some time. This was easily one of the most liberating things I have ever done and I didn’t want it to end. Oh yeah, and I didn’t fall.

More in Life

New documentary chronicles Obama’s last year in White House

“The Final Year” doesn’t paint the administration in rosy colors, but it isn’t too critical either.

‘Forever My Girl’ takes a page from the Nicholas Sparks genre

The film based on a novel by Heidi McLaughlin is a well-worn tale of lost love and redemption.

Curries continues home-cooked Indian cuisine at new location

The restaurant, now located on Evergreen Way, also puts an Indian spin on Northwest cooking.

International guitar tour led by Lulo Reinhardt stops in Edmonds

International Guitar Night, now in its 18th year, is Jan. 24 at the Edmonds Center for the Arts.

Beer of the Week: Scuttlebutt’s Night Circus

The Everett brewery’s head brewer had nightmares trying to dial in its new coffee and coconut ale.

Viognier: French white grape gaining foothold in Washington

Viognier, the noble white grape of the northern Rhône Valley of France,… Continue reading

The latest on Snohomish County’s breweries, wineries and distilleries.

recreated one of those old recipes, brewing Tennant’s 1954 Gold Label Barleywine

New Cascadia Art Museum exhibit showcases mid-century designs

The exhibition includes ceramics, furniture, clothing, sculpture and jewelry from 1948 to 1966.

This beefy ex-cop has a delicate hobby: intricate paper-cut art

You can see Tom Sacco’s creations at the upcoming Everett Art Walk.

Most Read