all words: Ross Bonaime, all photos: Jackie Garcia
Returning to the 9:30 Club for the first time since 2009, Animal Collective planned on playing three consecutive nights at the club, starting on Monday. However before the band took the stage Monday night, the power went out and the band was forced to cancel their show minutes before it started. On Tuesday night, Animal Collective clearly had twice the amount of electricity, with a sweaty, high-energy show that had the sold-out crowd moving through the entire set.
Clearly the crowd was excited in the choice of opening song, as ‘What Would I Want? Sky” starts off pretty mellow, then builds into one of AC’s best songs, then followed by the high-energy “Today’s Supernatural.” The 9:30 Club stage was decorated to look like the cover of last year’s Centipede Hz cover, as all four member played inside a giant mouth, projecting videos onto where the throat should’ve been and onto the individual teeth that outlined the stage.
I had never seen Animal Collective before live, so I was a bit worried going in. I didn’t know just how experimental AC would be live, but thankfully they found a great balance between experimentation and just playing the songs as-is from the album. For the ten songs of the set before their encore, each song led into the other, with elements of each song bleeding into the other.
For example, the unusual sounds that open up “Lion In A Coma” actually start near the end of the song prior to it, which was “Wide Eyed.” It’s a little thing, but it shows just how great AC are at blending and experimenting.
The 9:30 Club was almost unbearably hot, probably a combination of the power outage the night before and the sheer amount of people packed inside, but that didn’t stop everyone from dancing like crazy when the band pulled out “Brother Sport,” which was extended for maximum effect that caused crowd-surfing and an excitement that didn’t die down during the next two songs ‘Did You See The Words” and “Father Time.”
But it was the show’s final song, “My Girls” that made the crowd understandably go insane. For a set that had a good balance from Animal Collective’s best albums, it was their most popular song that clearly everyone was waiting for.
I almost wished that Animal Collective had started a second set after their encore, which left the band feeling a little bit less scripted, instead having Avey Tare come out from behind his instruments to perform the last two songs. “Peacebone” had all four members clearly having a great time and had Avey Tare screaming the song’s last lines at the top of his lungs while jumping frantically like the song suggests.
The last song “The Purple Bottle” sounded insanely better than it did on Feels with Avey Tare not slowing down after the previous song. While there was little between song talking, besides a comment about the power outage, AC showed their humor by throwing in a few lines from “I Just Called To Say I Love You” into the song without skipping a beat.
As the crowd dispersed, almost everyone looked like they had jumped into a steaming pool of sweat, everyone also looked like they had a blast. I know I did, so much so that even had I seen them
all three both nights, it might not have been enough.