The stage at the Mann Center looked just like you’d expect at an Animal Collective show: strewn with giant fluorescent teeth and resembling a mouth. For some reason, multi–colored tendrils also flanked the center of the stage. It was clear just from walking in that this concert was going to be an all–consuming psychedelic experience.
The experimental pop band Micachu and the Shapes opened the show with their signature enthusiastic electro beats. Though it was a relatively short set, catchy beats and sonic synth sounds prepped everyone for the experience that followed.
After a short intermission that smelled of booze, weed and anticipation, the lights dimmed. The members of Animal Collective nonchalantly walked on stage amid cheers. Immediately, strange imagery was projected onto the tendrils and teeth. Fog engulfed the stage. Blue lights cut through the dark. Psychedelic sounds wafted their way into eager ears.
Though lacking flashy or energetic showmanship — the members of Animal Collective definitely did not jump around or pander to the crowd, let alone introduce themselves — the sheer quality of the music more than made up for it. Though some bands would be better off sticking to studio albums and recording studios, Animal Collective experienced live is an intense affair. The music hits your ears in waves; the visuals flicker and twitch in the dark. In particular, the live version of “Peacebone” that closed the show turned the crowd into a mass of spastic dancing and rejoicing. Their live performance was a visual and auditory delight, packed with rhythmic flows of music and dramatic cinematics. Even the hipsters couldn’t help but dance.