The night ended with a 70s-rock cover band. Panther mastermind Charlie Salas-Humara and drummer Joe Kelly decided to spend their after show party listening to rock classics at the tiny Arena Beisl, just a few steps away from the venue of their own show, where an aged mohican was threatening them in German while the middle aged blues band played a cover of The Who’s “Tommy”. It’s a good way to come down after a somewhat stressful day (long drive and annoying computers; Charlie’s extensive swearing before “Like A Bridge On Fire” is not without reason), although the music being played there could hardly be farther away from the Panther sound universe. They fuse funky rhythms, danceable electronics, catchy piano parts and insistently sung vocals and really make their audience want to move during the live show. Especially if you watch Charlie becoming a mad dancer as soon as he takes the guitar off his shoulders. Their acoustic performance of “Like Birds” proves, though, that even under completely oppositional circumstances – lying on the floor of a storage building and hardly able to move at all – they get their message across.
Arena is a cultural center and music venue in the industrialized district of Erdberg. Its beginnings hark back to 1976, when some thousand demonstrators gathered around the former St. Marx Auslandsschlachthof to save it from demolition and subsequent commercial use. While they were not able to save the huge building complex, the vast social movement did succeed in reaching the foundation of an autonomous cultural center on the smaller area of the former slaughterhouses, which represents today’s Arena. Presently Arena has integrated a wide musical spectrum to its programme for various crowds and commercial use. Yet Arena’s dictum “Love Music, Hate Fascism!” is more than a relict of old days as it is still the venue with the most punk concerts in town.