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ConcertHop: Animal Collective

Fresh off the release of Strawberry Jam, Animal Collective brought their orchestra of electronics to Webster Hall on both Sunday and Monday. Bwog correspondent Lucy Tang explains why you should never see a band you love at Webster Hall.

Considering that Strawberry Jam is one of my favorite releases of the year, I was very excited to see Animal Collective Sunday night, even if it was at one of the worst venues in New York, Webster Hall. Unfortunately, the set was short and lacked much Jam.

The opener Tickley Feather can only be described as endearing. With her lo-fi sound and crazy loops, she managed to make Webster Hall seem intimate. Think Beach House and Ariel Pink, then you’ve almost arrived at Tickley Feather. Huddling over her little 4-track (“My parents gave this to me. I’m not even sure if it works!”), the lead singer looked like a little drunk mouse in the best way possible. Though she charmed me over, a few bros in the front heckled her.

One of Animal Collective’s more notable quirks is mostly playing new songs at shows, and they did just that, including a great little calypso number. Unfortunately, many new Animal Collective fans fail to realize this habit, and those who expected a run-through of Strawberry Jam were clearly disappointed. I would have also preferred a few more songs off the actual releases, but “Who Could Win a Rabbit” satiated me.

Another detraction to the show was a bit more technical. Webster Hall’s sound is terrible, and the bass was incredibly loud throughout the show. Though the vibrations on the floor actually added to the ambience of the show, the band didn’t seem very enthusiastic about the heavy-thumping bass. In the middle of “Fireworks,” AC’s frontman Avey Tare cut the song because he couldn’t hear himself and they just moved on to the next number. For most of the show, the band members all seemed a little lackluster. For songs with such vibrancy, the show seemed like a mere jam session. Animal Collective ended the show rather abruptly with “Leaf House” and immediately walked off-stage, leaving enthusiastic fans to clap and cheer for a good ten minutes before the house lights came back on. Many fans grumbled about no encore, but to be fair, Animal Collective did play an hour-plus set. The fervor was there, even if the band’s energy wasn’t.

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11 Comments

  • you shoulda says:

    @you shoulda gone to mondays show. much better

    webster isnt that bad of a venue, just sketchy.

  • I think says:

    @I think Strawberry Jam is my favorite album of the yeaer.

  • AED says:

    @AED funny about the bass… monday night you could barely hear it… esp. during openers VW.
    Got an enocre but they should have left it at that. Good energy but they’re a recordings band no doubt.

  • in rainbows says:

    @in rainbows blah blah blah RADIOHEAD IS RELEASING A NEW LP NEXT WEDNESDAY. how is bwog not crippled by the anticipation? AC is adorable and all, but at a time like this i find it difficult to get too worked up about other acts and their interesting, but infinitely lesser performances. that being said, lucy summed up the gig perfectly (as usual), especially in regards to t. feather.

    1. Radiohead says:

      @Radiohead is great and all, but they’re not the end all and be all of music. Hail to the Thief was a bit of a letdown, and until they next come to NYC, there’s not much point in discussing their album here, even if you can name how much you’re willing to pay for it.

      On another note, I saw Man Man at Webster last night and thought the sound was incredible. I was right in front of the stage (usually a bad idea for acoustics), but heard every note and lyric. The openers weren’t so fortunate, but Webster rolled out the red carpet sonic treatment for the headliners, which I appreciated. Also, the show was the most energetic I’ve ever been to. If you get a shot to see them, do it. It’s like white-clad, face-painted Tim Burton had a dance party that devolved into an all-out orgy in waltz time.

  • A word of wisdom says:

    @A word of wisdom never do coke at an ac show. your heart will shudder and threaten to explode (and not in a good way).

  • monday says:

    @monday was better & incl. an encore. (avey apologized for bad vibes the night before.)

    and i hate it when bands do run-throughs of new albums. as good as sj is, their whole setlist on monday was ideal in my mind – old and new. familiar and wild. instrumental and otherwise… overall: therapeutic on a monday night.

  • Balls! says:

    @Balls! The Sunday night show was one of the worst shows I’ve been to in a very long time. The bass was too loud (and I had earplugs) and the crowd wasn’t getting into it at all. I am sure the performance sucked as much for AC as it did for all of us.

    Later in the show the bass got turned down (which I’m sure it was for the Monday show) and things sounded a lot better. By that time, AC wasn’t in great spirits and neither was the audience. Oh well! Next time, perhaps, though I’ll probably just stick to my AC albums.

  • So much says:

    @So much for the weather post.

  • i say says:

    @i say “shows”

  • Jamie says:

    @Jamie The bass wasn’t so bad if you were standing where I was which was a few rows back from the stage in the middle, but on recordings you can hear how intense it was. I thought the new reworking of Who Could Win a Rabbit = quite good, and the new material > hearing the Strawberry Jam songs. It was all about the jam BEARHUG

    TANG – I am copyrighting drunk mouse, beware.

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