December 10, 2012
by Jasen Ribadenera
All I could think when I first turned up the volume of “Moonjock”, the first track on Animal Collective’s new one “Centipede Hz” was that they’d recorded it under the influence of dry ice. A stone-cold freak out from beginning to end. And I can state, with a smooth confidence, that their show last Wed kept with tradition. As it should, as it should. With huge magic-marker colored inflatable tusks creating a natural canopy over the stage, four shadows took up their respective places behind microphones, “keyboard” looking “machines”, and drum sets.
Starting off with “Crimson”, an unreleased track, made a strange kind of sense to me and I knew the song even though I’d never heard it before. Don’t worry, I don’t get it either. The crowd seemed to get everything though. Random dancers split from the mob and shimmied solo for a brilliant minute before either being asked to “move on” by security or being swallowed up whole, back into the fold. Very impressive. I started to fight back urges to do the same as “Wide Eyed” picked up steam. Again, I was joined by Valery (enthusiasm enthusiast) and she kept my erratic movements at bay with her subtle shoulder sways and graceful hair tosses. I held on tight and we took up residency in the same corner, behind the same bouncer as we had 4 nights prior when we saw Dinosaur Jr. It was a different vibe this night and although he seemed happy to see us he didn’t offer any Trident. No big. Things really took off for me when they played “Applesauce”. Caught up in the chorus I didn’t notice Vals trying to point someone out to me. “Did you see that!?” “See what?” I asked as I squinted in the direction of her frantic finger pointing. I strained to identify the figure to whom she was gesturing to and was taken aback when I saw, clear as day, Golda Meir, fist clenched in the air. “Couldn’t be!” I reasoned, “There’s no way.” That’s when Vals screamed in my left ear “That’s Jenna Bush!” and good lord she was right! It was our lost first daughter Jenna Bush, holding two glow sticks, flailing wildly by the bar. I averted my eyes and tried to force the image away, knowing I’d be risking seizure if I acknowledged its existence. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
You see, I’ve never witnessed these guys before so, to say the least, I was thunderstruck. Their records have always interested me because I always felt like they were picking up where Brian Wilson left off. I wonder what “Smile” would have sounded like if he was into candy flipping instead of speed. Probably a lot like Merriweather Post Pavilion or Centipede. Whatever, guess it’s pointless to indulge such evil thoughts. Back to reality? Sure.
By the time “Moonjock” was playing I felt as if we were doing the band a great disservice by standing in “our” corner so I floated the idea of barreling through the crowd and wouldn’t you know it… Vals grabbed my shirt sleeve and navigated with ease to the middle of the pulsating horde. We grooved with our new neighbors to “Peacebone” and by the time they played “My Girls” I was throwing her high in the air and laughing at the expression on Panda Bear’s face as he kept an eye on her, I assume, to make sure she came back down.
Neither one of us did.
Photos by Kenny Sun
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