Animal Collective Live At HOB

Animal Collective 3Animal Collective kicked off their tour promoting 2012 release Centipede Hz last night at the House of Blues, lighting up the stage with their signature electro-weirdness and tripped out sound. Around since the late 1990′s, the Baltimore natives refuse to age by mellowing, and the spectacle was at an all-time high for the show that had sold out months in advance.

The Collective couldn’t have made a better choice for an opener than electronic artist and part-time madman Dan Deacon, who spent his set flanked by two drummers devoting himself to getting the audience psyched. Manic dancing was the norm and Deacon had initiated several group jams before leaving the audience nice and pumped for the main event. Crowd members offhandedly mused at the enormous, elaborate set their favorite band had carted along– the House of Blue’s stage was lined with big plastic teeth, one row along the top and bottom of the stage, with swirling, monochromatic stalagmites lining the stage. “Maybe we’re supposed to be in the mouth?” one asked her zoned-out friend. “Or maybe they are. Who knows what they’re thinking,” she decided. There’s the Animal Collective personal style in a nutshell.

Save the music itself, the video installation that ran through the entire AC set was the most magical part.of the night– the teeth the audience had been so puzzled by became televisions, and an enormous projector showed old cartoon and film filtered through an acid-like-filter, creating an atmosphere unquestionably unique to the band. Despite their reputation as being anything but crowd-pleasing in their set list selection, the group impressed the audience this time around by premiering two tracks never heard live before, opening with “I Think I Can” off of the EP Fall Be Kind and crowd favorite “Bluish” off of the 2009 release Merriweather Post Pavilion  later in the show.

Almost the entire track listing for Centipede Hz were included in the set list. Especially exciting to hear performed live was hit “What Would I Want? Sky” and “Today Is Supernatural,” though set closer “My Girls” off of 2009′s Merriweather Post Pavilion brought the crowd dancing to an all-time, crowd-surfing, raucous high.

Lead singer Avey Tare didn’t miss a beat jumping from the Michael to the guitar to any number of synths outnumbering the band members themselves, along with fellow Collective members Panda Bear, Deakin, and Geologist. To keep with their triply atmosphere, there wasn’t a break in sound foe the entire 75-minute set– once you entered the Collectives world, you were theirs until the final bow.

The group came out for their encore of “Amanita” and “The Purple Bottle”, leaving the audience satisfied eighths exuberant energy that comes at the helm of a fresh touring schedule. Animal Collective is here to stay, kids, ask anyone that had the sense to go.

By Jamie Loftus
Photos by Jeeyoon Kim

If you liked this, check out:
Alt-J Live at the Paradise
Milo Greene at The Sinclair


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