Animal Collective – Malkin Bowl, Vancouver B.C. – 9/19/12
The Malkin Bowl is set in Vancouver’s sprawling Stanley Park. The mountains are just visible above the evergreens, the clean city bustling beyond. It’s a striking place.
The venue is relatively small. There’s an old band shell at the front of a sloping lawn, no covered seating, and no VIP section. Considering the crisp Canadian setting, the whole place was a VIP section.
Glowing teeth surround the stage, giving the illusion of an open mouth with blinking Easter-colored incisors.
The end of twilight prompted the opening band, Micachu and the Shapes. The three-member act featured drums, a synth, and a shamelessly distorted guitar. The British trio sounded like the Arctic Monkeys on mescaline, appropriate opening sounds to Animal Collective.
A true appreciation of Animal Collective may be akin to appreciating your little cousin’s finger paintings, but your cousin’s finger paintings don’t necessarily accompany geometric morphing tie-dye visuals either.
When all was dark, Animal Collective launched into an odyssey intro, carrying us past the confines of space and time and into someplace… different. The show was a psychedelic opera, traversing the spectrum of human emotion, lulling us into a catatonia and back into frenzy. Lead singer Avey Tare’s shrieks and whines were both tormented and jubilant.
Like any quasi-lyseric musical experience, it was at times, uncomfortable. The sound bore down on us like the weight of some impossible atmosphere, and then lifted to shoot us back to euphoria.
Song transitions were seamless, yet no hints of the next selection were discernable. It’s a curious thing to witness songs played in 7/5-time shift to a 3/4-count and land tightly. Behold the majesty of live sound and cherish that shit.