FOLLOWING the release of their experimental synth-pop album Merriweather Post Pavilion in early 2009, Animal Collective has gained both critical acclaim and a place in indie music fans collective consciousness.
The New Yorkers' unique brand of psychedelic alternative pop has provided the soundtrack to both Indie raves and Starbucks sound systems alike up and down the UK. The bizarre experimental nature of the group has clearly evolved since the early days of melodic, radio-friendly hits such as 'My Girls' and 'Brother Sport'.
The constant evolution and development of the band’s sound throughout their nine full studio albums, sometimes leaves you unsure of exactly which Animal Collective you will get.
The venue was the new location for the Warehouse Project, Victoria Warehouse - an enormous garage-like hall a stone’s throw away from the Theatre of Dreams. Fitting then, that the support act, Prince Rama, resembled something that might exist in a dream that Mick Jagger might have had in the 70s during one of his more wild nights. The band, made up of two sisters, appeared before a backdrop of tie-dye madness wearing very little indeed aside from streaks of neon paint that unsurprisingly did little to hide their modesty.
The girls then launched themselves into the rather sparce crowd and performed what can only be described as a dance routine lifted from a Patsy Kensit exercise video circa 1999. What a start to the night, all beneath the enormous florescent jawline, complete with giant teeth that circled the stage and lit up at regular intervals.
With the masses aptly prepared after this hallucinogenic start to proceedings, Animal Collective took to the stage to an almighty applause. Within 30 seconds, the audience descended into a pit of wailing, shrieking and aggressive dancing when they became aware the band were kicking off the evening with 'Rosie Oh'. Then came 'Today's Supernatural', the first single from their new album Centipede Hz. This enraptured the crowd with Tare's stammered lyric “let-let-let-let-let go” causing some younger members to burst into an adoring melee of flailing arms and legs.
Avey Tare, his blue hair a recent addition to the frontman's already eclectic style, proceeded to express his gratitude to the fans who were now filling the vast arena in their droves. Then came song after song from the new album, which disappointed some of the crowd who were in the mood for a more nostalgic collection of hits from the Collective.
They didn't have to wait too long though; 'Brother Sport', the secondsingle from Merriweather exploded with Tare wailing “open up your throat a little”, over the top of the rasping drums and dream-like synths provided by Geologist (not his real name).
The encore performance of 'My Girls' stole the show. For the seven minutes of the epic 2009 hit, the tribal drums and shy chorus evolved the audience into a frenzy. The enormous teeth that framed the stage then lit up an electric blue as they played out the night with the enigmatic statement track 'Pulleys'.
The constant evolution and development of the band’s sound throughout their nine full studio albums, sometimes leaves you unsure of exactly which Animal Collective you will get. As far away from a traditional rock band as it is possible to get, nevertheless their chaotic, self indulgent psychedelia on this occasion really hit the spot.
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