Real Live Action

Animal Collective

with Grouper, May 24 @ The Commodore

Review By Alex Smith

In a musical climate where a majority of new “indie” acts fall in to the unfortunate genres of experimental, fuzz-pop, lo-fi, no-fi, shit-fi, and whatever else has emerged from the journalistic meat-grinder recently, one sometimes forgets that Animal Collective has been creating their particular brand of experimental pop for nearly ten years now—and they still do it better, with a novel, more traditionally structured live format.

This structure marks a departure for Animal Collective, who are notoriously hit-or-miss live performers—the classic “They Suck Live” band who’s records are good enough that it doesn’t really matter—which made it mildly surprising that this show was so fan-friendly. As the music industry tortuously reconfigures itself, bands have become increasingly reliant on tour revenue, since nobody buys albums anymore. This may have something to do with the fact that Animal Collective played actual songs! From their actual albums! Anyone who’s been to their shows before knows what I mean—they are usually a mish-mash of new material and largely improvised jams. With the (relative) success of Merriweather Post Pavilion, they seem acutely aware of a new fan-base, and those fans were in evidence, for better or worse. A smattering of semi-aggressive frat-bros and their bleach-blond cohorts would have seemed absurdly out of place at an Animal Collective show a couple of years ago, but there they were, and there you are. Animal Collective would be silly not to diversify their fan portfolio in these tough economic times, and maybe I’m just being a dick anyway.

Since I was a last-minute stand-in to review this show, I missed the shockingly punctual Grouper, which is a damn shame. But she will be playing at St. Andrew’s-Wesley Church Jul. 18, and I highly recommend that you attend.