Saturday, June 06, 2009

Review & Photos : Animal Collective and Black Dice @ Stubb's

The last time we saw Animal Collective in Austin (in the summer of 2007 at Antone's), tickets for the show sold out a day or two before the show was to take place and you could probably have hassled the door staff to let you in even though it was sold out. For this show, two years and two new albums later, the band sold out Stubb's, a much larger venue, a couple of months prior to the show. What does this say about the band and how far they have come in the past two years? Their last two albums, 2007's Strawberry Jam and this year's Merriweather Post Pavilion, have been their most accessible and have gained a myriad of fans with each release. The crowd at this show was both younger and older than previous times and far more expansive.

This time, the band brought along Black Dice, which was kind of a breathe of fresh air from last time's headache Sir Richard Bishop. That being said, I think that some of those not used to the noisier side of the spectrum walked away from Black Dice's set with a headache. The band started the set with this muddy wall of sound and morphed into a set with samples and more structure and something that the crow could dance to and relate with as "normal music", but only vaguely so. Some went wild, and some had their ears plugged. They are a polarizing band, both live and on record, and that's one thing I like about them.

Animal Collective has seen a dramatic increase in exposure in the past two years, but aren't quite to the point where they have reached mainstream success like several smaller artists have in the past couple of years. I don't often see bands that get applause by playing the first few notes of a song, but that happens with Animal Collective now. They have been playing the songs from MPP for two years now and a good deal of the people who listen to the band have a thorough knowledge of the album, probably more so than the band's back catalogue. The band ran through a good number of songs from the album and several of the songs garnered large amounts of applause from the crowd when they were able to recognize what the next song would be from the muddled outro of the previous song. The lighting was the perfect compliment to the instrumentation by the band and the mix of the songs played worked well with each other in a live setting and the band was in top shape in another great live incarnation.

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