Monday, October 01, 2007


I know I wasn't alone in my underwhelming response to the latest Animal Collective, but as the band in the past has proved fully capable of boring me live --even in the throes of true fandom-- surely the inverse seemed possible, too. While their last NY show had the now-trio grappling with a new set (wholly excluding SJ), for their homecoming last night, they had fully come to terms with (gasp) audience expectations.

It was downright anachronistic, as AC actually delivered the hits, those known sounds, and most-startling of all, total satisfaction. I can't think of a time, in the dozen shows I'd ever witnessed, ever recognizing more than a quarter of their set, yet they both drew heavily from the current album and from previous highs, delivering throbbing versions of "Who Could Win a Rabbit?" and "Leaf House." Album cuts that previously left me shrugging (like "#1" and "Fireworks") were both bass-bludgeoning and high-freq tingly all at once, meaning they sounded like big glittery techno tracks.

I may have been alone in these feelings though, especially in light of the Brooklyn Vegan bitch-fest, where the bass was a complaint, as was the setlist, as was the exclusion of certain songs, as was the set length, as was the beer prices, as was the parking, as was the...all of it boiling down to a pissing contest between the seniority of fans who took stemmy bong hits to Person Pitch when it leaked in January versus those who stole Jam in July, between those who graduated this spring versus those who already moved to the Williamsburg campus last September.

Regardless, what came across on disc as sonically-thin and stagnant, revealed innumerable onion layers live. Through the night, I could glean African pygmy chants, Kompakt's Pop Ambient series, Franco-picked Congolese, dub, Tropicalia, and happy house (well, two of the three dudes did work at Other Music) in these songs, yet none of it ever seemed willful or didactic; instead everything gleefully hit at once. Perhaps the night was put best by a text message my friend received mid-concert: