Fox & Hound, Friday, March 17
Waaaay back before SXSW, Spin columnist Ultragrrrl said she was looking forward to seeing Animal Collective; she previously thought they sounded like "a bunch of retards clapping." For the majority of their 90-minute set, Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist, and Deaken reached back to Sung Tongs-era weirdness, drawing out long ribbons of reverb-heavy lullaby noise cut by the occasional scream or effects wonk. Bearded sound manipulator Geologist was wearing some sort of miner's helmet with a light attached, so as he moved his head back and forth, a strobe effect happened over the crowd. It felt like a rave circa 1995, except now everyone in the crowd was on crystal meth, and Thurston Moore was there. The barrage continued, and at certain points the band would break into a "jam," with all four members banging on something or dancing in place and/or singing. Unfortunately, one reggae-tinged number veered dangerously close to sounding like 311. Then, they ferreted out songs from their latest album, Feels, a decidedly more poppy endeavor. The vocal reverberations of "Grass" and the beautiful drone pop of "The Purple Bottle" broke everyone out of their trance, culminating in a cathartic eruption. So, not exactly "retards clapping," but more of a primal instinct not everyone in the crowd could follow.
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