Tag Archives: Centipede Hz

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Animal Collective Continue to Take Risks

October 29th, 2013

Animal Collective – Union Transfer – October 28, 2013

(Photo: Jared Levy)

Animal Collective maintain a following by continually challenging and redefining their sound. There’s nothing easy about listening to radio interference and white noise, but buried in the experimental band’s musical trances are subtle shifts and changes. The pleasures are similar to gazing at a piece of visual art where you start with base enjoyment and then peel back layers of understanding until there’s confusion … and then what?

The dial was continually turned on last night at the second sold-out show of Animal Collective’s two-night stay at Union Transfer in Philadelphia. Most of the songs came from their latest album, Centipede Hz, where the idea of crafting a live show through radio mimicry was originated. The stage setup, designed with dangling teeth and a projection screen coiled around a pointy felt tail, also drew from the album. The images were that of tropical-colored spin art flashed in time to the music. The night’s theme was Halloween, and costumed attendees filled the venue. Some dressed as animals, perhaps as an ode to Animal Collective, but the band members looked more like a collection of smoked-out zombies. There was little talking—some kind words about the opener, Dan Deacon, and Halloween—but screeches and industrial-noise loops cued the next song and then the next song until one began that everyone knew: “My Girls” with the chorus repeating, “I don’t mean to seem like I care about material things, like our social stats/ I just want four walls and adobe slats for my girls.”

It was during this song—along with some other tracks off Merriweather Post Pavilion—in which people pushed forward and even the quietest attendees mouthed the words. Still, there were distinctively difficult moments, notably the breaks before “What Would I Want? Sky” and “Peacebone.” These numbers blossomed from a struggle to arrive at the opening notes. Risky behavior for some bands, but for Animal Collective, the pleasure of their music is intrinsic to the process of its creation: four minds molding and dismantling sound. —Jared Levy

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A Trippy First Night of Animal Collective

December 5th, 2012

Animal Collective – Terminal 5 – December 4, 2012


Back in early October, if you listened very closely, you could almost hear entire parts of Brooklyn collectively sighing upon hearing the news that Animal Collective’s Williamsburg Waterfront show was cancelled. All right, so maybe that’s not entirely true, but luckily for fans, the band is back in New York City to make good on their earlier reservation, playing two nights at Terminal 5 with a healthy Avey Tare and an extra month of touring behind them.

Last night Animal Collective performed before a setting of ever-changing Day-Glo colors, in what looked something like a live-action interpretation of the cover of their latest album, Centipede Hz. Although the band sampled heavily from the new LP, a few Merriweather Post Pavilion favorites also found their way into the set. Moments between tracks were filled with lengthy improvisational segues. At times it felt like their songs sprouted organically from the band tinkering away at the instruments. The audience lost it when a few yelps from the beginning of “Brother Sport” weaseled into the drawn-out ending of “Monkey Riches,” teasing fans that a favorite was on its way. “Brother Sport” has evolved substantially since its recorded version, becoming much more drawn out live. By the time it hit its repetitious catchy hook in the middle of the song, the bass became extra heavy, as if to ensure the hypnotic hook was drilled deep into the listeners’ subconscious.

And even with all the crazy multicolored projections barraging the senses, it was still plenty entertaining to watch psych spelunker Geologist, with his signature headlamp, rocking out onstage—with the severity of his head-banging serving as the best indicator of the music’s intensity. Animal Collective grew up huge fans of the Grateful Dead, and without going overboard with the comparisons, there’s plenty the two bands have in common: From a superdevoted fan base to the improvised nature of their live shows, history might look back at Animal Collective as a continuation of many Deadhead traditions. We’ll just have to wait to see how the rest of their career unfolds, but what a long strange trip it’s been so far. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Sean O’Kane | seanokanephoto.com

(Animal Collective play Terminal 5 again tonight.)