Animal Collective Plays Last NYC Show of the YearAugust 17th, 2009
Animal Collective – Prospect Park Bandshell – August 15, 2009
On a humid Saturday evening at the Prospect Park Bandshell, Animal Collective provided a cool, under-the-sea themed concert, the second of two sold-out shows. The Maryland-born, New York- based band currently consists of Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) and Geologist (Brian Weitz). They played in front of an undulating ocean backdrop complete with seafaring creatures while jellyfish-shaped string lights hung above the crowd. Midway through the show—when they played “#1,” off Strawberry Jam—a model shark lurked across the nautical set. All the while, two Pringles-can-shaped Aztec Jack-o’-lanterns with bowl cuts majestically stood on each side of the stage. The scenery whimsically complemented the night’s music.
Touring on the heels of their ninth studio album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective has amassed an impressive catalog that gives them range and versatility in their set lists. Toward the set’s beginning, the band played a revamped version of “Leaf House,” heavy on its original piano sample. Eventually the new track “What Would I Want Sky” (a Jerry Garcia sample jam with a skull-rattling bass) and songs from Panda Bear’s solo projects made their way into the set. While the band has traded an acoustic freak-folk sound for a more electronic-based groove, Animal Collective’s live shows continue to include innovative musicianship and spontaneity. Songs like “Also Frightened” showcased the increasing vocal interplay between Panda Bear and Avery Tare. For a band rooted in the Brooklyn music scene, the show was a welcome homecoming. As Avery Tare repeatedly told the crowd: “This is the best place to play in New York.” For their part, Animal Collective greatly contributed to a wonderful late summer evening. —Jared Levy
Photos courtesy of Morgan G. Harris | morgangharris.com