CONCERT RECAP: Animal Collective plus Micachu and The Shapes @ House of Blues – 9/29/12

Concert review by Greg Zieman:

I have to say that before this show, I was skeptical. As a long time fan of , though never having seen them live, I had always heard/read mixed reviews of the band’s concerts. The major criticism being that, while the group boasts wildly innovative and aesthetically unique studio albums, their live shows fall short on the sonic presentation expected from such intricate albums. However, all skepticism began to fall away as I entered the in New Orleans on Saturday night.

Opening act commenced the evening promptly at 8 o’clock amid a stage completely packed with modern instruments, resembling something of a neo-technological mad science lab. The three inflated teeth on either side of the stage, not yet pumped full of electric color, and the Tim Burton-esque, Grinch mountain inflation in the backdrop gave the stage a supernatural flair.

Micachu and the Shapes, a British trio, obviously chosen to open for Animal Collective due to their relatively similar aptitude for auditory experimentation, lit the fuse on an eagerly energetic crowd. Performing the new album standout “OK,” Mica Levi and Raisa Khan seemed to sing the emotional substance of the crowd as they traded, “Are you sure you’re OK?” “Couldn’t be better.” If not for the act to follow, I’m quite sure the crowd would have demanded more from the smiling affection of Micachu and her Shapes.

It didn’t take long for the stage to become an arena for the headlining act, though someone unfamiliar with Animal Collective would have been wondering where all the normal instruments were. “Not here,” laughed the stage as the main lights died and the teeth glowed in rainbow luminescence, the crooked tube shivering with rapid projections, and the background screen doing the same. The fuse hit the power and the crowd exploded as AnCo opened with “Rosie Oh.”

One of the most notable things about Saturday night’s show was the level of energy that seemed to fill the room like a pleasant pervading static. I didn’t expect that from an Animal Collective show. I expected more of a spectator sport than an interactive game. But when Avey Tare came out from behind his little laboratory and delivered “Peacebone” in a dancing fashion of modern ritual, the crowd followed suit, and the entire building was, in a sense, performing. The fans easily recognized Centipede Hz tracks like “Applesauce,” “Moonjock,” and especially “Pulleys,” even as it came back to attention after an amazing little interlude woven in. But it was truly, without care, the older tracks that lit the crowd with conflagration. “Lion In A Coma” was intense; everyone in the building sang “Brother Sport;” “Cobwebs” was the perfect encore intro, followed by none other than “My Girls.” And as “Amanita” wrapped up the night, I hadn’t the slightest notion that anything had been missing from the show, sonically or visually. If anything, Saturday night at the House of Blues was one of the most kinetically blissful shows I have been to, all made possible by that flammable chemistry between fans and band.

I realize now that the detracting critics of the band’s live shows are confusing the distinguishing aspects of concert and album. Had there been some “lack of sound quality” (which there certainly wasn’t), it would hardly have mattered. The concert was exactly what an Animal Collective concert should be: a mutual activity performed by audience and artist, leaving both parties substantially more fulfilled for having given each other all of their time and energy.

Setlist:

Rosie Oh
Today’s Supernatural
Wide Eyed
Applesauce
Honeycomb
Lion In A Coma
Moonjock
Pulleys
New Town Burnout
Monkey Riches
Brother Sport
Peacebone

Encore:
Cobwebs
My Girls
Amanita

October 2, 2012 |  by  |  Editor's Favorites, Photos, Reviews
About the author

Can be your friend if you like words. Can probably be your friend even if you do not like words. Lives in New Orleans, looks for shade. Thanks Miner Johnson (@brahbrahbrah) for this prestigious career. You should thank him, too.

 
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