Animal Collective Paints New York City with Sound

Animal Collective continued their Painting With tour with two stops in NYC at Irving Plaza last week. Fresh off the album’s release, they continued their penchant for not only changing their sound with each album, but the live show evolves as well. This tour and album were different in that they didn’t play any of the songs on the road before recording. They normally use their live shows to feel out the songs and work through and expand on them, so that by the time they go into the studio to record, the songs have morphed into something completely different. Everything but the energy seemed a little paired back this tour; they played smaller venues, they had one less band member, there was less instrumentation on stage, but this seemed to force the show to have some more focus.

Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist ditched their usual instruments and were setup in front of modular synthesizers, while Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks/Ponytail band-mate Jeremy Hyman took over the drumming duties. For Painting With, the band made a conscious decision to keep the songs short and to the point. The songs are fast and dense, like they had taken their essence and squashed it into a hard little piece of bubble gum. It was on the road that the songs would be chewed up and stretched out.

As with most Animal Collective shows, the latest album was heavily featured. But that didn’t stop them from throwing several older gems into the set. The new tracks had a sense of  frenetic acid pop, which pulsated with tribal rhythms that drove the energy forward and carried momentum throughout the set, even if the audience wasn’t necessarily familiar with all of the new material.

They started off the night with a torrent of new sounds as they tore through material from Painting With, the only respites was their cover of the 60’s Motown classic, “Jimmy Mack,” by Martha and the Vandellas and “Daily Routine” from Merriweather Post Pavillion. The room erupted when they then dropped into “Golden Gal”. It’s candy coated melodies make up the most infectious track from Painting With and the crowd ate it up. On Delay is perhaps the strongest of the new tracks and it was a great jumping off point to slide into the sublime Feels track “Loch Raven”. They then finished the set off with “Floridada”, an earworm of a song that had the crowd jumping along and ended the set with a cartoonish exclamation point.,

The droning trance of “Bees” gave everyone a chance to recollect themselves during the beginning of the encore before “Lying on the Grass” melted into the old-school classic “Alvin Row”, a song that many people were hearing live for the first time as they had never played the song live as a band before this tour. Some people were completely losing their shit, and it’s hypnotic builds and releases were a great way to end the show.

Animal Collective continues their tour this week with stops in Denver and Utah, before heading to the Pacific Northwest. Check out for more dates.

Setlist: Natural Selection, Gnip Gnop, Hocus Pocus, The Burglars, Jimmy Mack, Daily Routine, Golden Gal, Summoning the Wretch,  On Delay, Loch Rave, Floridada

Encore: Bees, Lying in the Grass, Alvin Row

Animal Collectiveirving plazaNew York City