From The Rail: Sights and Sounds of Animal Collective Live @ First Ave. 5/20/09


AC Avey tall close      It’s been a long wait since the release of Merriweather Post Pavillion, since this show was announced, since the tickets went on sale. May the 20th seemed like it would never arrive, and as I spun everything from Spirit They Came to their newest live tracks, the prospect of seeing Animal Collective live seemed more myth than reality. 

      But enough of the deification. The show has obviously come and gone, but the hype surrounding these guys both as a live act and on record is sure to stay. I got the chance to see the trio last year at the Pitchfork music festival, and they were good. But the set was very short and the band seemed a little passive with their enthusiasm of actually headlining the festival. Last night though, Animal Collective took the stage and commanded an energy from start to finish like few bands can. It was captivating and jaw-dropping while at the same time extremely fun and enjoyable. 

      The set list was great as well. Obviously playing plenty of tracks from Merriweather, the band also managed to open with the older “Chocolate Girl”, played “Chores” and “Fireworks” from Strawberry Jam, and also knocked out “Who Could Win a Rabbit” from Sung Tongs. Highlights of the night include the comparatively stripped down yet overly amazing version of “My Girls” and the five minute breakdown in the middle of “Fireworks” that came as close to a guitar or drum solo that you could ever see from Animal Collective. 

      Stage set-up was even stunning. The lighting for the show was spectacular, that is unless you get seizures easily. For the rest of us though, we were treated to strobing color almost constantly, making the sight of Panda Bear singing on “Guys Eyes” even more beautiful than I ever imagined. The giant ball that hung above the stage, along with the giant optical illusion, err, album cover in the background made sure that stage was completely utilized.

      It’s a tour and concert I want to be proud to tell my kids about someday. You saw Woodstock? You saw Hendrix? You saw Ringo? I saw Animal Collective, one of the most influential and boundary pushing bands of my age. Describing how important they are to music might be cliche, but Animal Collective might be one of the only bands from this entire subculture worth talking about years down the line.

      So there’s plenty of video and photos for you to check out of course. Please excuse my terrible half-singing half-yelling along to some of the songs, I apologize. Enjoy! 

 

AC Panda singing

AC Avey bubble

 

AC Geologist

AC Panda red

AC Panda and Avey flash

AC Avey side

AC Avery and Panda Green

AC Avey B and W

 

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