I really like the new direction Animal Collective is taking for their music: more electronic and somehow passively aggressive. With an introduction to the show as a long set of techno music with some spectacular lights, playing #1 as their first song, and then playing a couple of new songs even newer than their Strawberry Jams, including the ridiculously good Bearhug (aka Walk Around), the statement made by the band was clear: we have a new sound. A new sound for a continuously evolving band.
Avey Tare is for me the protagonist of Strawberry Jam and the actual face of the Collective right now. Live, yesterday, in tracks like Peacebone and Unsolved Mysteries, both songs of their new album, the change in his voice from screaming and shouting to singing softly came off simply spectacular. He seriously needs to keep doing it, and with Panda Bear echoing under his deliver, like for all those new songs that probably will be on an album in a couple of years, we are set to keep getting amazing music to our ears in the coming time.
The old songs have been translated to the new language: not much guitar, not much drums and in general not many actual instruments, but lots of pedals and samplers exquisitely doing their thing (and whatever Geologist do). Who Could Win a Rabbit and Leaf House were the perfect examples of this translation.
But the show was at Webster Hall. Something bad had to happen. A venue that charges 8 dollars for a beer had to be cursed and if it wasn't, then from now on it will be, because it made this Animal Collective show, the one that was supposed to be memorable, into an incomplete and somehow frustrating set. My favorite song on the Jam is called Fireworks and I think it is a tune that celebrates, anything, but last night precisely it worked the opposite way.
My smile and excitement disappeared once Avey Tare decided to stop, while the new Essplode was being added in the middle of the Fireworks, because the bass was too strong and it was killing the rest of sounds. From the audience I didn't feel the bass was excessively strong more than three times, but Avey must have been feeling it way more than we were to decide to stop the song like that. I was totally with him in his disappointment of not being able to give us what their quality standards usually are, but it sucked... much. I hate you Webster Hall.
The Animals tried to continue and played the new live favorite Brother Sport, one that sometimes sounds like a Colombian cumbia, and Grace, both newer than the new stuff. Right after this, Panda and Avey whispered some words to each other and it looked like they made the decision of finishing the show earlier than planned. Fuck. They played Leaf House, went basckstage and never came back for an encore. [photos of the show]
P.S> Do you have an extra ticket for tonight's show (Monday)? I need to see them again.
Were you at the show? How did you like it?
Animal Collective Links: Stream Strawberry Jam, Stream Animal Collective in Concert (Washington D.C.), Stream Feels, MySpace, Domino Records, YouTube, Pitchfork interviews the Collective.