Animal Collective has never been a great live band in my eyes until Tuesday night at Terminal 5 in NYC. The three previous AnCo shows I’ve attended were usually self-indulgent and borderline boring, especially the electronic-heavy songs from their Merriweather Post Pavilion tour. Of course, it’s the best album the band’s released to date, but it just didn’t lend itself well to an engaging live show with three musicians hovering over their samplers. Finally, the band seems to have finally figured out how to engage an audience in 2012.
With an immersive stage design, the return of Deakin on guitar, Panda Bear back on drums, and an incredibly energetic Avey Tare combined for one of the best shows in recent memory. Deakin bounced around in circles in the middle of the stage with his guitar as if on an LCD trip. Panda Bear kept perfect time on his kit while splitting lead vocals. Avey Tare’s voice, apparently healed from the larangitus that led to the cancellation of their last NYC show, was pitch perfect. The highlight of the show was an incredible performance of Strawberry Jam favorite “Peacebone,” with a spastic Avey Tare stage front with only a mic in hand. The band finally learned how to play a crowd-friendly setlist, featuring mostly songs from their new Centipede Hz record, a sampling of MPP tracks, and the amazing “Peacebone” serving at the closer. The three-song encore included the band’s most popular song, “My Girls” from MPP. The show ended on a perfect note with “Amanita” from the new record. The track is probably the best album closer the band has written and works equally well closing the live show. [image courtesy of kennyysun]