During the middle of one night in December, I woke up to the buzzing noise of my phone. My friend H. texted me to tell me that Animal Collective secretly announced a show at Bowery Ballroom and tickets had gone on sale that night. One catch: a password was required to purchase tickets. So, at 2 AM, I scoured the Internet in a fruitless search for the password that would grant me access to what may be one of Animal Collective’s last small-scale shows, coinciding with the release of their highly-anticipated new album. By the next morning, the situation had not changed. With no sight of the password anywhere, I joined the many people who were agonizing over how the hell we were going to get tickets. But, it was only a matter of time before the code was leaked, and I was on track to see the guys who hurt my ears at All Points West.
It was cold as hell last night, but a huge line of ticketless fans was not deterred from finding a way to the intimate show. I don’t know how many tickets were available at the door, but the venue was pretty packed by 9 PM. Drawlings, Avey Tare’s sister, promptly started her opening set, and I stopped paying attention a few minutes in. It would have sucked for anyone opening for AC last night. But, everything serves a purpose, and Drawlings’ role was to kill time.
After what felt like the longest day of anticipation, AC opened their set with “Almost Frightened.” While I was disappointed that AC didn’t open with “In the Flowers” like they had at Grand Ballroom, it was immediately apparent that the show would be unlike the set at All Points West, where the sound was so off-balance and loud that I couldn’t really make out anything. The sound at Bowery Ballroom was perfect, albeit I like to crank up the volume when I'm listening to Animal Collective. For the most part, the set list was very similar to the one for the previous night’s show at Grand Ballroom. As expected, “Leaf House” was an awesome live experience. The track becomes completely different with Avey Tare and Panda Bear emulating the effects and loops with their voices in real-time. Also, once again, AC performed the new song “Blue Sky,” which they debuted in London last night. Already, I can’t stop listening to this new song. Sometimes, I think it’s really unfair that Animal Collective can create music that’s so awesome that I can’t get it out of my head. Unfair to my attention span, which never had a fighting chance. You can grab the mp3 of a live version at nyctaper or gorillavsbear.
My favorite performance of the night was "Brother Sport", although David would adamantly disagree with me (See the comments section below). I like the live version significantly more than the studio one, which is already terrifyingly addicting. The building up of layers was more noticeable in person, and it made the pinnacle of the song (and its resolution) that much more satisfying. Also, I've actually missed Avey's yelping, and I'd take it over the perfectly looped yelp in the recording. There were some moments of the set that were weaker than others. I wasn’t the biggest fan of “Guys Eyes,” although I think the song really showcased Panda Bear’s talents as a vocalist. The extended “Fireworks” was too long for me, but it gave Animal Collective the opportunity to look like a rock band with Avey Tare on the guitar and Panda Bear on drums. AC closed their set with “Comfy in Nautica,” a track off Panda Bear’s solo album, Person Pitch. When the song came to an end, I was not ready to leave. Although they played for about an hour and a half, Animal Collective could have gone on for another five hours and I wouldn’t have minded in the slightest bit. In fact, some of the tracks could have been extended by another twenty minutes, and I probably wouldn’t have even noticed.
Saw Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear/Department of Eagles. Also saw members of Chairlift. Who did you spot at the show?
Beginning in March, Animal Collective will embark on a world tour. They return to New York on May 13 at Terminal 5. Tickets go on sale this Friday. If you can stand the venue, grab your tickets quickly. With all the hype surrounding Merriweather Post Pavillion, which is currently available for purchase, I expect the show to sell out within the same day.
Geologist is such a badass. He is the coolest alum in my eyes.
Setlist (via brooklynvegan)
Blue Sky (new song)
Lion in a Coma
Comfy in Nautica
Leaf House - Animal Collective | Alternative Link
Comfy in Nautica - Panda Bear | Alternative Link