ANIMAL COLLECTIVE with Dan Deacon at the Danforth Music Hall, Tuesday, July 9. Rating: NNNN
When Animal Collective started making music over 10 years ago in Baltimore, they probably never imagined their weird, experimental "melodies" would land them in front of huge crowds looking for a sing-a-long. ??
Returning to Toronto after their March show (and other North American dates) was cancelled due to lead singer Avey Tare's "intense case of strep throat," the four-piece played a short set mostly comprised of songs from their latest LP, Centipede Hz.
After electronic button-masher Dan Deacon churned the crowd into a sweaty mess with his usual shtick of coercive crowd-participatory shenanigans, AnCo nonchalantly took the stage without nary a wave or "Hello Toronto" - simply taking their posts and playing the psychedelic noise that continued non-stop for just over an hour. ??They opened with Comfy In Nautica, a song from vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Noah Lennox's side project Panda Bear. Blissful and eerily cathartic, the song delighted fan girls and boys, but surprised (dare I say, bored) concert-goers aching to continue the dance party. Thankfully, selects from Centipede Hz followed, sounding much better live, where the abrasive beats filled the space, with echo-y breakdowns between each song. At times these interludes became self-indulgent, but they're the essence of a band that's more interested in creating a feeling through sounds rather than individual songs. ?
Tare's voice was still recovering, so Lennox took on sole vocal duties, meaning the band couldn't play favourites from their earlier albums, Feels and Strawberry Jam.? But fans of AnCo's big hits got their wish at the end when the band played My Girls and Brothersport, both from 2009's massively popular Merriweather Post Pavilion album. The crowd jumped in unison, shouted out the decipherable words, and threw glow sticks. It lasted a mere 15 minutes, but was totally worth the wait.