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In the Mood with Animal Collective

Posted by Robyn / February 25, 2006

animal collective.jpg
Animal Collective, First Nation
February 22, 2006, La Tulipe

I'm of the school that all music is a mood. There are people who believe that one music suits all moods. Or one genre is enough to encompass the scope of emotion. I'm moody and selective. But also really curious - if I listen to x, how will I feel? If I'm feeling like killing my internet service provider, what will bring me into the green again? And so it goes with music or movies or any art really. So when I first heard Animal Collective, I was a bit flummoxed.

I liked the music, but when did I want to listen to it? For a while it was All the Time, then None of the Time, and recently, Sung Tongs in the late evening. It kind of defied my moods yet at the same time, balanced everything out. And that's awesome. So when Wednesday rolled around and I realized it was Animal Collective Show Day, I was happy - because it didn't matter that the day had been less productive than I'd hoped (oh, Olympics, I love you, but you do have to end), or that the prospect of standing in a crowd for two hours in a sweaty, sold-out venue kind of put me off my tea. It didn't matter, because I knew that however I was feeling, I would forget about it as soon as Animal Collective started playing.

As it was, we sat in the balcony, front row, so no standing with the plebs and pogo-ing young 'uns (though La Tulipe's balcony seats have zero legroom and by the end of the show, ALL the smoke and humidity had come up there to hang out with us). Sitting up there in the balcony, witness to the music and the crowd and the laser-light show, I felt a little regal, but also a little zen, a bit of a blissed-out aristocrat. Exactly as it should be, I thought.

But before that thought truly entered my head, First Nation, a trio of women from New York, played an energetic arty-noise kind of music - something you'd expect to see at one of these new-fangled loft artist-spaces in Griffontown. Which I, of course, love. Some beats, some semi-melodic vocals, finding a rhythm btwn percussion, keyboard and guitar, taking turns singing different songs, putting it all together - kind of, what, I don't know, a collective feeling? They were cute, they were interesting, they had some guts, I think. They're playing SXSW next.

Animal Collective, well, it was just a great show. An experience in itself, fairly different from listening to the album at home - which, to me, is my favourite thing about going to shows, hurrah! So much energy! So much hopping around on the stage because it's necessary to do so for whatever reason, don't question it! It's all the things I love! Pop, noise(s), rock, dancing, weirdness, cuteness, big amps, THINGS! And the sound and antics changed over the course of the show, which made sense, yet it wasn't over-rehersed or forced - it just flowed. I didn't get bored, no one else looked bored, (from my lofty vantage point) - the kind of music, the kind of show, a person just gets into. So, yes, like a mood, but a good one that suits its time and place perfectly. I think I actually sighed when it was over.

And then I walked home in the snow, and felt, well, something. I guess I just was, really, but with a good song stuck in my head.



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