With 2009's Merriweather Post Pavillion, Baltimore quartet Animal Collective appeared to be inching towards the mainstream.
While they've now consolidated that success to where they can draw decent attendances, this was a performance to remind you they remain an acquired taste.
A hefty amount of material was selected from their recent album Centipede Hz, with the sharp beat of Moonjock and the psychedelic Pulleys the pick of the bunch, adding dashes of creativity over an indie rock base. Not all were so engaging, however, with the main issue being that the foursome fling in so many ingredients that it all became overly messy and indecipherable. The noise level wasn't so strong as to rattle the senses, but it was loud enough that any nuances from their recordings were obscured.
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Perhaps that accounted for a flat atmosphere early on, with their yelping singer Avey Tare saying little, and the crowd moving even less. Only their stage set, with glowing teeth at the front, had flair. It was all rather turgid, as if the band were playing with their instruments in a desperate hope they'd stumble upon the lost secret of writing a decent tune. Then, at last, they did find a groove. It reached a truly euphoric stage when they kick into the intense, bubbling rhythms of Brother Sport, which provoked constant dancing, and continued into an equally vibrant Peacebone, which weaved all of their influences into a ferocious, almost confrontational whole.
That vibe carried over into the encore that, like the overall set, grew impressively as it progressed, with Amanita a twisty number. Collectively, a mixed evening, then.