Monday, 1 April 2013

Animal Collective at Metropolis

Animal Collective at Metropolis


Walking through the doors to the Metropolis on Friday night felt like a dream. Animal Collective is highly revered for their unique, intricate sound and visually bold performances, so I had nothing but high hopes for the show...

Stepping into the venue, my attention is immediately captivated by the  stage setup. What appear to be geometrically patterned, brightly coloured tusks arch across the stage, illuminated from the inside. Tiny, irregular rectangle screens frame the stage like teeth, and hazy shots of crying infants and green fields are projected upon them. There’s a bigger screen at the back of the stage, and a great white light behind the musicians that beams out and floods the crowd, nearly overwhelming the senses. 

Animal Collective is composed of members who go by monikers as absurd and alienating as the music they make: there’s Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Deakin (Josh Dibb), Geologist (Brian Weitz), and Avey Tare (David Portner). The guys take the stage without much fanfare, starting their set with a calm rendition of “Crimson”, which sounds the way a hot, lazy summer day feels, and follow it up with the bolder “Moonjock”.  Later, when the opening bars of “Did You See the Words” gurgle through the speakers, the crowd cheers and starts dancing along appreciatively. A few people can be seen crowd-surfing near the stage, floating shakily and occasionally disappearing into the flood of bobbing heads, before recovering with a smile. 

There’s a great sense of community between concert-goers, as everyone’s bathed in a multi-colored glow and smiling at strangers. It feels as though we’re gathered around the crash site of  a majestic spaceship, unable to tear our eyes away as it radiates light and perseveres with its strange song. We’re part confusion and part disbelief, thinking “I don’t know what this is, but it’s what I’ve been waiting for”, as we laugh and drink in the magnificent symphony of sounds transmitted from outer space. 

A sequence of songs from Centipede Hz (2012) work up an ecstatic entranced energy, with Avey Tare calling into the mic and Panda Bear on drums, keeping up the concert’s wild heartbeat. “Bluish”, one of my favorite tracks from the much-loved Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009), slows the pace down to a dreamy lull. There’s an indulgent sense of buoyancy that pervades their music, undulating and spilling from the stage like a viscous nectar. Animal Collective’s music is always top notch, but seeing them perform live is truly an otherworldly experience. This show in particularly is notably absent of the sound issues that they’ve sometimes had on previous visits to our fine city. Every note seems to take on a persona of its own, immersing the audience in the hypnotic churn of the synth, the wild animalistic appeal of the vocals, and the steady bray of percussion. 

Having been privy to a performance like this, I can’t say much else besides: if these guys happen to be touring through your city, just go. Whether you’re a longtime fan or a curious newcomer, an Animal Collective show is sure to leave a lasting impression on your musical palate.

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