Animal Collective at Bowery Ballroom – Show Review – Jan 21, 2009

  January 24th, 2009

Animal Collective   Animal Collective   Animal Collective

Here’s what I remember:


Timed strips of vertical light that glowed hot,
like radioactive piano keys.

Avey’s hunching shoulders, his face scrunching up and widening out,
contracting and dilating as emotion hit him, like a pupil responding to light.
His hoots and barks and punctuating shouts.

Geologist’s spelunker light while he bobbed like a boxer. In front of his wires & equipment, reminding me of a surgeon seen over forceps & tubes and an open chest.

Panda Bear’s big fluffed christmasy sweater, his tender vocals, the way he surprised me by how hard he came down on his drumset, like axes on stumps.

And their sound, all that good wide-eyed flushed swirl lathering up my brain, cleaning it up with kind hands, kind but also startling with its mass and power: Hiss of waves. Propellers. Inhalations. Tropics, crowded bazaars, arguments, coos, marina wave laps and boats leaving. All of it balm, and a little painful at the same time, like scratches on your back.

“Fireworks” and its flangy percussion holding it together like a spine, a long perforated spine, and its melody, its chorus’s wordless melody curving around like a desert snake, curling around and up and down, restless, a gusted ribbon.

“Comfy in Nautica” for the encore, saturating the air with its mantra, the refrain building and building, the sound massing, like children making a sandcastle that’s big enough to scream and sleep in, a soft cathedral built up in you, from outside you.

And all the people around me, glad and dancing, loud & full of thanks.


After, I was a little raw, almost sad. I couldn’t understand why. It wasn’t because it was over, or too short, or anything like that.

I decided that a show like this can leave you raw, longing for something undefinable. It can peel you back like fruit. As if music was a paring knife, skinning you. A knife with prayers and poems etched in the handle.

C. Way/ © 2009

[posted by C Way at 7:13 PM]


[file under: Music ]

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