Animal Collective @ Prospect Park Bandshell

pandabear8-14-09Animal Collective has lost my interest as a live band. Merriweather Post Pavilion is, of course, one of my favorite albums of 2009, but a third straight snoozer from the live incarnation requires me to reconsider their abilities as an engaging stage presence. The problem mainly lies with the live presentation of electronic music in general. Watching three guys bob their heads up and down while triggering samples does not stir excitement.

Comparing AC’s live show to other bands who have engaged audiences while playing electronic elements in their songs is inevitable. Battles, for example, spend much of their show playing real instruments and sampling rhythms live on stage and going back to these sounds and manipulating them while building upon an organic composition. That’s exciting! Grizzly Bear, although not an electronic band, has bassist/producer Chris Taylor sampling all sorts of wind instruments live and building upon them as though accompanied by a full orchestra. That’s exciting!

geologist8-14-09During parts of Animal Collective’s set, Panda Bear did pound live drums and Avey Tare did hold his guitar. However, both instruments seemed more like props than important components of the live versions of their songs. I could easily sense from the crowd that a collective interest was lost about mid-way through the set, as side conversations tended drown out a lot of the sound. Maybe that’s just the product of a large outdoor venue filled with indie hipsters who do not really like the music they claim to. It could also be a result of unyielding 10-minute jam sessions of “Fireworks” or “Daily Routine” that embrace segues and ignore all elements of song structure.

This was my favorite live performance by the band, and Avery Tare seemed especially excited to be playing in Brooklyn. Highlights included Strawberry Jam standout “Chores,” and “Lion in a Coma” from MPP. Unfortunately, the experience did not support the notion “third time’s a charm.” Setlist follows:

What Would I Want Sky
My Girls
You Could Win a Rabbit
Summertime Clothes
Daily Routine
Fireworks (medley)

Lion in a Coma
Guys Eyes
Leaf House

Mark Written by:

Avid concert goer and film buff obsessed with indie and electronic music.


  1. September 29, 2009

    wow man, you’re one of those people who just like watch the band aren’t you, do you even take the time to listen to what they’re playing? doubt it considering you’re brazen statement about them not knowing what song structure is. They’re considered, one of the best bands of the 21st century and you’ve got the gall to say these guys put on bad shows? I don’t honestly trust the fact that you really know any dismal information about ac let alone how multi-faceted their music is.

  2. admin
    September 30, 2009

    Like I’m glad you like their 10-minute jam sessions that don’t end. They are like really good and have like lots of song structure. Read the review and like pay attention. Animal Collective is my favorite band and three of their albums will be in Fishpork’s Top 20 of the decade list to be posted on October 15.

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