Animal Collective, the four-piece avant-garde electronic, psych, pop band hailing from Baltimore( three members staged the show on this night) aren’t known for working to make things easier on themselves. Over the course of fifteen plus years, various side ventures and an array of unusual projects, they’ve managed to change their sound and grow without compromising or contorting in order to achieve success. Saturday night in the Bywater haven known as the Music Box Village, A.C., represented on those gorgeous, euphoric atmosphere by Deakin, Geologist and Avey Tare, presented the capacity crowd of a few hundred to soundscapes and melodies that were specifically crafted to fit the atmosphere.
The venue itself is something to behold. Art installations hang from various points, while on this evening the stage was positioned in the round (I’ve never been there before so it very well may be that way all the time), with the throngs of eager concert-goers spanning all around, wherever they could angle a view of the show.
One of the coolest things about this show is that it wasn’t simply the three members of the band. Joining them were the likes of Helen Gillett, Aurora Nealand and Marion Tortorich, all of whom weaved in and out, using special hidden stations that ranged in direction from over the crowd, to next to the crowd, in order to further fill the area up with ambient sound scales, wind chimes, haunting vocals and wildly distorted string instruments.
At times the music was vivid and engaging, while other times it was the type of atmospheric energy and whirlwind that you wouldn’t be surprised would be coming from the trio. Certain movements could have passed for traditional tracks you’d find on one of their albums, with harmonizing and hard-to-miss melodies, while others were anything but that. All in all, it was certainly a moment to cherish and remember fondly. I mean, it’s not every day you get to see a pretty well known alternative band playing and produce arrangements that no one outside of the music box will likely ever hear.