Words by / Corinne Bates
I first met Brooklyn based indie-pop band, Plastic Picnic at a dive bar on the Tuesday of SXSW 2018. I was hooked the second they played a Police cover, and lead singer, Emile Panerio, left the stage to give the audience fist bumps. They had a contagious sort of joy that was hard not to give into, and my friends and I found ourselves dancing along to songs we had never heard before, but somehow felt we already knew. By the end of the week, I had seen Plastic Picnic four times and still wasn’t sick of them.
The quartet is comprised of two sets of best friends: Emile Panerio (vocals, guitar, synth), and Lincoln Lute (guitar, synth), and Marshall Hunt (bass and synth) and Gordon Taylor (drums), who all moved from Washington to New York around the same time. Though they all played in bands in Washington, they didn’t meet until they moved to the East coast. They were introduced by a friend who knew both duos were looking to start a band in their new home. A quick jam session revealed their compatibility and thus the band was formed.
Plastic Picnic write songs you could hear in a movie soundtrack, bridging the gap between listenability and meaning seamlessly. They like to describe their music as “sad songs you can dance to” and honestly, it works. They have a sort of modernized 80s nostalgia that they played up with a cover of the Police’s “Every Breath You Take” during their last SXSW run.
Their chemistry is evident onstage as is their love of music. Their shows are just a big dance party and sometimes they even invite their friends to join them onstage for their last song. Their entertainment factor doesn’t disappear when they get offstage though. Plastic Picnic had a surprising bout of internet notoriety during SXSW 2018 when a video of Simon of Balthazar, Lute’s alter-ego, doing tricks with a plastic sword Barton Springs went viral. It even made it to the front page of Reddit.
Since last year they have released two new singles, “Doubt” and “Well Wasted,” which both play up their dream-pop sound. The new songs prove that their self-titled EP wasn’t just a fluke, and that the band has the capability to continue releasing impressive material.
So come to Goatfest and stick around for Plastic Picnic’s set of sad songs you can dance to.