Los Osos-based band Panga drove down the road to Cal Poly earlier this week, performing a Concert in the Plaza on Thursday, Oct. 8.
The band’s musical style and easygoing energy felt pleasantly beach-like, especially when paired with the heat of the day and the club, Merry Hoopsters, practicing in the plaza.
The set was based off the band’s self-titled first album. The music was versatile, showing a wide variety of influences — made even more apparent when Panga singer and guitarist Nate Zak abruptly began singing completely in Spanish.
Panga also likes to keep their set flexible on stage, according to Zak. Songs, including “The Way They Work” and “The Alcove,” appeared to be chosen based on how the band was relating to the crowd at the time. Zak even spent time during the set chatting with the Merry Hoopsters and trying to find songs that they could move to more easily.
“We have some songs that we like to play more than others, but we usually judge it off the crowd,” Zak said. “We play whatever song is best out of our set for the moment.”
Zak and Panga drummer Jacob Peter first came together in 2010, during Zak’s senior year of high school. Vocalist and bassist Loren Acosta joined the band about a year ago after the three noticed they had a similar interest in creating “an original sound,” Zak said.
The band attributes their large variety of influences — including reggae, jazz and latin — to music prevalent in the state’s music scene.
“We’re all original acoustic rock with pretty much every influence that California is so saturated with,” Zak said.
“I just really liked their sound,” said business administration junior and ASI musical entertainment assistant Ryan Viggiano. “I saw that they performed at (The) Naked Fish and some places downtown and I thought they’d make a good fit for Cal Poly … they seem really fun, so I thought it would be just a good show.”
Panga has played for KCPR and Poly Permaculture events on campus, but this is the first time that the group has played a Concert in the Plaza.
“It’s sweet,” Zak said. “We were really hoping we’d get a chance to play this venue, so it was really cool.”
During the set, Zak also added that the band had recently finished a Kickstarter to fund their second album, Slendermind. The project, which finished mid-August, earned over $2,200 from 42 individual backers.
Slendermind is scheduled for release in April 2016. For more information about Panga, visit their website.