Animal Collective @ the Fonda, 9.18.07
Before getting into anything critical here, read my Twitter messages that I wrote during the performance last night. Novel idea or absolute novelty?
bibabidi: The one song where he brought out the guitar ... we missed. no photos there! amazing climax.
bibabidi: Zombie power hour here. strangest crowd i've witnessed. stoners with techno inclinations and a stance of steel.
bibabidi: Never seen it this packed. Sam expertly stormed to the front but i was unfortunately held back by stoic hipsters!
I loved the show, although I'm certain someone will call me out here. I'd not attended an Animal Collective show before last night, so I'm far from a die-hard [stoner] fan, and yeah, I agree in advance ... it would've been tremendous to have seen these guys at a smaller venue. And yeah, it would've been rad to have seen them five, six years ago. That aside, though, they played one hell of a good show.
I could not've asked for a more outrageous show: an over-the-top light-show, Cinco de Mayo-esque skeleton props scattered about, excessively animated musicians, and an especially engaged, and outrageously stoned audience to boot! While David Portner (or should I call him Avey Tare?) could've let loose a little more vocally and the three could've really just jammed out to excess more often, the tightness that they've acquired, the craft they've organically and beautifully fostered over the years makes up for the otherwise dry elements to their current live shows. Watching A.C. at this point is comparable to say, a John Coltrane show: there's a improvisational element; a connectedness between the members, their instruments, and the sound waves they each emit, transmit, and receive. Surprisingly, they all seemed rather disengaged with each other throughout the show (little cuing, little eye contact, etc.), but they were undoubtedly connected on a more ethereal, out-of-body level. I found that to be very cool.
If anything, I wish they'd not played "Peacebone" -- one of the better tunes of the night -- so early on, and I wish they'd rocked out a bit more, but maybe they're just tired. The end, though, added a unique and unheard of twist to the group's material ... they edged on the dance-y, the techno even. With the last few tracks, A.C. whipped out some primal, Happy Mondays/Hot Chip-esque beats and rhythms which was pretty damn bizarre, but strangely fulfilling for me. Oh, and Panda Bear friggin' rocked. Anyway, below are a couple live tracks from the past year or so, and after the jump is a slideshow of my sort of crummy photos (more to come, though). You can view them here, too.