Concert Review: Animal Collective @ House Of Blues (3/7/13)


Bands: Animal Collective, Dan Deacon
Date: Thursday, March 7, 2013
Venue: House Of Blues (Boston, MA)

We haven’t been to a show at the House Of Rules in 3 years, can’t honestly say I miss the place, but what I do miss about going to bigger shows like this is encountering random folks that you’ve never met before. It’s always nice to find people that share similar interests as you. Enter Ryder. Ryder is the illest pimp in all of Portland and Glen, Ryder, and myself chat about our lives, our  favorite bands, and our past show experiences (Ryder attended that epic Ty Segall Space Gallery show from last year, good man). Great meeting you Ryder, stay in touch brotha. Now to the show.

Dan Deacon– Dan’s a dude I’ve known about for 3-4 years now, but have never listened to until tonight. He introduces the show explaining that he talks a lot and boy, he’s isn’t kidding! Early into the performance,  Dan instructs everyone to get down on one leg, raise their left arm in the air, and then point up to the ceiling and think of what makes them feel the most cowardice. Random, right? But, Dan manages to get nearly the entire audience on the floor to adhere to his bizarre commands.

He is a great orator and his humorous projection continues throughout his performance. Twice in the set, he orders the crowd to form a giant circle and within this giant circle, the participants are ordered to DANCE in competition with one another, with each competitor switching off with another attendee in the audience to keep the dance mania alive until General Dan commands everyone to join!  At times it feels like a high school assembly or field trip, sort of cheesy, yet also admirable in its unorthodox nature. I’ll give him that. I always appreciate it when an artist attempts to break the mold of expectation for what a performance is supposed to be like.

At other junctures it reminds me of a rave, with kids bopping  about to Dan’s wacked out, jungle/ tribal fused electronic pop. The specifics of Dan’s musical style are far above my noggin; put simply Dan has an electronic/computer set up and makes noises into the mic while two drummers (Jeremy Hyman and Kevin O’Meara) bash away on each side of him. Dan Deacon and crew definitely put on an entertaining, elaborate show, perhaps not my specific flavor, but sure to charm many a doe eyed electronic music sophisto OR new comers that are simply looking for something  a bit more unconventional. Go for it.

Animal Collective – I owe much of my infatuation with contemporary music to Animal Collective. Back in high school, I mostly rocked out to older music; in fact, I thought modern music blew, with the exception of a few bands. When I heard Animal Collective, I started to open up to current music and now look where I am today! Running a blog about the latest bands I hear and see. It was Animal Collective’s sheer oddity that roped me in from the first time I heard them. Songs like “Who Could Win A Rabbit” and “Fickle Cycle” were trippy, but poppy too. In 2013, these fellas still retain that unique, utterly undefined character to their craft.

Four years ago, Glen and I experienced Animal Collective at the House Of Blues and at the time it was as one Frank Hurricane would say “life changing.” Just read our old review here: http://wakefieldnews.blogspot.com/2009/05/concert-review-animal-collective-hobo.html Mind altering may be even more apropos  Kids were going nuts and I could barely stand for most of the duration of the show, I even lost a shoe at one point.

This time around however, there  is only a hint of that mayhem and I’m not quite sure why that is.  Maybe these young lads (all ages show) aren’t into moshing and what have ya. Or the music itself doesn’t drive them in that direction. The music tonight is great, but definitely more toned down sonically – not as loud as last time. And with this, there is also substantial less pop elements. Most of the songs I don’t recognize and I’ll admit I am not overly familiar with their most recent album, Centipede Hz. I am more of a Feels Strawberry Jam kinda guy. The performance tonight is more akin to a fleshed out Dan Deacon, harnessing much of that tribal/experimental freak folk aesthetic.

Personally, for me I am more of a rock ‘n’ roll fan, so the poppier side of Animal Collective is the element of their music that appeals the most to me.  I was hoping to hear more of that variety, but all in all this was a fun show.  Classics like “Bluish,” “My Girls,” (I probably looked like a screeching fan girl to some of the kiddies when they played this number), “Lion In A Coma,” and show closer “The Purple Bottle” are personal highlights.

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