There are hot tickets; oftentimes, there are molten, white flamed, scorchier-than-the-sun tickets. And then, there are the tickets for tonight’s Animal Collective gig, which cannot be found for love nor money. Indeed, while some of Dublin’s great and good have been left outside the venue in the melee, tonight’s crowd is a curious breed indeed. Partisan hipsters are piled on top of fair-weather revellers happy to discuss tracker mortgages and weekend trips to Tallinn over the Maryland trio’s output. Alas, we appear to have fallen into a rather malignant, vocal huddle of impartial gig-goers, but no matter. In theory, there should be enough happening onstage to distract from such folly, right?
Animal Collective certainly have their ducks in a row; possessed of a brightly-lit giant orb, flashing tables and a cluster of trance-like avant-electronic gems, their live performances owe more to the likes of Orbital than any of their sturdier indie peers. In all, they serve up a polite, intriguing mash of quirks, lights, dots, loops, grooves and minor thrills. ‘Summertime Clothes’ and ‘Brother Sport’ are deliciously rhythmic, while ‘Fireworks’, though bereft of the tricks and nuances that brought its studio recording to life, was still mesmeric to the point of brilliance.
Yet and all, something seems amiss.
Tonight’s crowd are certainly animated and warmly responsive. Still, I can’t help but think that there’s little by way of a palpable sense of occasion or showmanship in Tripod, not least given how hotly anticipated a gig it was. Is it because there’s scant interaction between band and crowd? Or was tonight’s show always going to creak slightly under the weight of sheer expectation? At any rate, opinion seems truly polarised in the aftermath of tonight’s show, but I can’t help but feel a tiny pang of…meh. There’s no doubting that Animal Collective have long been pleasingly adept alchemists on record. Tonight however, they deliver a slightly freewheeling live performance that might better befit a balmy festival evening.
Photos: Loreana Rushe.