Animal Collective at the Observatory
I’m sorry this post is so late. It’s been a tough one to write, as it’s the last time I saw my girlfriend of six years before we called it quits. (…) That out of the way, I have a very eclectic music taste, and Animal Collective is one of the more bizarre bands that I can get into from time to time. They’re an electronic pop band from Baltimore, but they’ve also been described as “freak folk,” “neo-psychedelic,” “electronic,” and “noise pop.”
Animal Collective is also one of the very few bands my (ex-)girlfriend and I both like, so I took her to the concert. They’re actually one of the few bands that she introduced to me; typically it was the other way around.
We arrived early to have dinner and drinks, then headed into the main room. (The food is surprisingly good… I recommend it.) As always, I try to drum up illustration business for myself when I’m out in public. Instead of my normal Lebowski tee, I tried wearing my Beetlejuice design to gauge the response. (Both are pictured below, if you’d like to make a purchase.) Unfortunately, I didn’t get any responses at all until after the concert, when we went to In N Out Burger. I don’t know if it was the crowd (more on that later – fucking hipsters) or the design, but I’ll stick with Lebowski from now on, I think.
The opening act was an artist named Stuart Copeland. He’s not the drummer from The Police, but I couldn’t find any good photos of him online. Then again, I didn’t look very hard, either. Until he started playing, the crowd wasn’t really sure if he was venue staff, a tech, or the musician. His disheveled outfit combined with his lackluster entrance caused the confusion. Turns out he was the opening act.
I’d say I enjoyed about half of his performance and hated the other half. It started out slow and dull, but he built up to some interesting riffs and grooves towards the middle. Unfortunately, he was not able to keep the momentum going as he’d follow up an interesting song with another dull one. He even had a song about being excited that ironically was one of the most boring songs I’ve ever heard. Maybe this was intentional, I don’t know. (Fucking hipsters.)
He did manage to finish the set on a high note and left me wanting more. So there’s that. I’m very undecided as to whether or not I enjoyed this performance. I couldn’t find any live footage of Copeland playing, so instead I’m embedding Stewart Copeland of The Police playing. Enjoy!
Stuart Copeland Setlist: TBD
Sound: ★★★ out of 5
Energy: ★ out of 5
Live Performance: ★★ out of 5
Overall: ★★ out of 5
By the time Animal Collective took the stage, the venue had filled in to capacity and you couldn’t breathe without gulping pot smoke. Didn’t want to get high? Too bad!
If you’ve never seen Animal Collective, I’d definitely have to recommend their live show. It’s unlike anything I’d ever seen before. Throughout the duration of the set, the lighting crew would shine kaleidoscopic color patterns onto the stage, the crowd, the walls, and the creepy, Cubist sculptures of giant heads that hung from the ceiling. I’d imagine that anyone on mushrooms, which I assume much of the crowd was, would have had a very emotionally taxing head trip. I’m not a drug guy, but I could definitely get into it myself. It was surreal.
The crowd could only be described as maximum hipster level, which usually would annoy me. In this environment, though, I could tolerate it. Barely. We noticed a group of six or seven fans dressed like bananas, as well as a couple wearing Big Bird and Cookie Monster costumes. The wacky dress helped add to the bizarre spectacle. Maile and I noticed an older man who presumably brought his daughter to the show. He looked distressed, to say the least. Poor guy.
The energy was high, the sound was great, and the crowd participation was excellent. My only gripe with their set was that they played almost all new songs. I would have preferred a more balanced mix of new and old, but it wasn’t enough to ruin the show for me. Maile disagreed; she didn’t know any of the new songs, and was disappointed because she wanted to sing along and didn’t get the opportunity.
I’ve embedded a video of Animal Collective playing my favorite song on David Letterman’s show. It should give you a pretty good idea of what’s in store for you if you ever decide to catch them live (which you should).
Animal Collective Setlist: Hounds of Bairro | Lying in the Grass | Golden Gal | The Burglars | Water Curses | Guys Eyes | Recycling | Daily Routine | Summing the Wretch | Jimmy Mack(Martha Reeves and The Vandellas cover) | Summertime Clothes
Encore: Kids on Holiday | Gnip Gnop | FloriDada
Setlist: ★★ out of 5
Sound: ★★★★★ out of 5
Energy: ★★★★ out of 5
Live Performance: ★★★½ out of 5
Overall: ★★★½ out of 5
The hipster icing on the cake was overhearing one concert-goer say to another, “We’re here ironically” on the way out of the venue. Had I heard this prior to the show, I may have been sour for the performance. Hearing it at the end just made me shake my head… Fucking hipsters.
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