by / March 29th, 2009 /

Animal Collective – Tripod, Dublin

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.

  • Amolta

    Very similar views about their belfast show. All a bit…meh…

  • Yeah… same feeling here. I’ve been a fan since Strawberry Jam… then went back to sung tongs and loved it. Was really pleased when Merriweather came out too. It was exactly where I’d hoped they’d go musically. A little more refined.

    The gig had a few highlights… but to be honest, very little of the show was live. Basic sequencing and a lot of “press play” samples. Even a lot of backing tracks…. and even some amateur beat clashing occurred in certain cross fades between songs. To a non-musician they might appear as clever nerds with ideas above our station. Christ I’m not even much of a musician and I saw through a lot of the smoke and mirrors. Alarm bells really started ringing… when Avey Tare asked for photographers to stop taking pics. Something to hide? or more accurately… was there an embarrassing lack of something to hide?

    It’s disappointing. They’re obviously talented people. Jaysus for a while there… I thought they might be shaping up to be the next Radiohead. Not so sure now though.

    Animal Collective have always felt very organic to me. Like a living breathing beast forever impulsive…. forever growing.

    The Animal Collective I seen in Dublin Friday night were the opposite. Mechanical, contrived, static and lazy.

    That said, I refuse to give up on AC. Maybe they’re yet to understand themselves as a live entity. Here’s hoping!

  • Dermot

    They had the same setup and songs for the Whelans gig last year and I enjoyed it a lot more.. probably just because it was a smaller venue with better sound (unrealistically small for them, under normal circumstances), there was less hype and expectation around the gig, a crowd that was more into it and less just there to chat, and the songs were still all brand new at that stage so maybe it was less easy to see the seams where the sampler button-pressing comes into play. It is one of the pitfalls of bands with that sort of setup that the whole thing can feel a bit less than ‘live’ if circumstances don’t come together right.

  • C.

    Third time I’ve seen them live and I felt it was the best so far. I didn’t see the Whelan’s gig last year, having just seen them a few days previous at ATP and I was thoroughly underwhelmed by their last Tripod show which was marred by illness.

    But on Friday I felt they were excellent. Tripod’s sound is never the best but being up the front away from chatty gig-goers probably helped up my enjoyment hugely.

    What would I know though? My favourite AC song is Banshee Beats.

  • Be honest – they’re shit.

  • nerraw

    I thought it was a great show but a friend thought it was ‘meh.’

    Totally shit crowd though, definitely a tracker mortgage type of vibe. I’ve seen more enthusiastic turkeys at Christmas. Probably the worst crowd I’ve ever seen at Dublin gig and that’s saying something. Poor crowd at Passion Pit.

    The sound at tripod was pretty good but you did have to get right up the front to avoid the talkers.

    But can we please stop the Orbital comparisons. It’s a head torch. Orbital didn’t invent them nor did they invent playing electronic music live.

  • bobby

    “Alarm bells really started ringing… when Avey Tare asked for photographers to stop taking pics. Something to hide? or more accurately… was there an embarrassing lack of something to hide?”

    That’s just silly.

  • ben colton

    if theses tickets were so sought after why, exactly, did they not sell out for two weeks?

    in this country we get more than we deserve in terms of good acts. it’s only because of our geographical location that it makes sense for most american bands to stop here before going on to mainland europe.

    we should be ashamed, the crowd were simply dull that night.

  • poopy pants

    yah i saw them at whelens it was a brilliant show