So I finally made up my mind and, although no one else followed, I went downtown on Wednesday to see Animal Collective live in Gagarin 205. The band was set to go live at 21.00 (a bit earlier than initially announced due to an early flight they had to catch), but nevertheless they finally came out around 22.00 (as originally planned). Prior to them, onstage was a quite dull solo violin-keys-electro act that thankfully quickly vanished 10 minutes after I arrived.
Prior to the band’s appearance, I set myself in the front row (unfortunately just opposite of the speakers) while the place was slowly filling up (although nowhere near a full house). Finally, Avey Tare, Geologist and Panda Bear made their appearance on stage and immediately started tweaking their (hi-tech) equipment. Everything was ready and Panda and quickly set the pace on their samplers while GeologistAvey continued to tweak even more buttons and pedals. It took a few minutes before their music finally settled in and along with Avey’s distorted lyrics at first and Panda Bear’s howls later on, the Animal Collective sound was finally at full scale.I have to be honest, I really enjoyed the music and easily got into the Colletive’s reverie but I always felt something was missing. Perhaps it was Avey’s and Geologist’s stage appearance (the first kept on tweaking and fixing different equipment and pedals all the time while Geologist [with his headlamp] reminded me a bit of Orbital) that let me down. On the other hand, Panda Bear was a real joy, especially when he left the keys/samplers and got onto the drums. I guess that was the highlight of the concert for me, when on the second-to-last track Avey finally reached for his guitar and Panda Bear ecstatically pounded the drums. A 10-minute frenzy that finally awaken the crowd and made the whole night worth it. And that was basically it, with just a small 5-minute encore which naturally wasn’t enough. A not-that-bad live from which we expected a bit more and also reaffirmed most people’s thoughts (or at least mine’s) that the real driving force behind the band is increasingly becoming Panda Bear (especially after last year’s acclaimed Person Pitch)
PS. Yet again I forgot my camera so I had to settle with crappy pics and vids from my mobile phone.