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Animal Collective at RBC Ottawa Bluesfest- Ottawa Review

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Who: Animal Collective

From: Baltimore, Maryland

Where: RBC Bluesfest Ottawa

When: Wednesday, July 10, 2013


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Style: A transient hypnotic journey through the boundaries of electronic music.


Crowd: Making their way to the front of the stage, an experienced concertgoer would zigzag through the collective of a typical festival audience. Dodging through the outskirts of obviously occupied observers using the vibey new wave techno as background to their conversations, past the mildly interested fiscal attendees — the “I paid for a ticket so I am going to get the most of it” type — a person would find themselves entrapped in an atmosphere of ambient avant-garde sound. Jumping, dancing and clapping along with the fans were people sporting blown-up deer and shark heads to make the experience that much more psychedelic. Following in the wake of a security guard, I acquired a spot right near the front as he apprehended a dainty teenage girl for smoking a joint.

Technicalities: The stage presence was benign as the four members known as Avery Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist and Deakin were mostly seated or otherwise stationary behind their instrumental set up. All four members were equipped with keyboards or synthesizers; as well, Avery Tare added guitar sounds while Panda Bear kept beat on the drums. The sound was a symphonic cry from the depths of your computer’s heart. The occasional vocals creeped in mumbling and incoherent, at times, desicively changing to a yell adding to the overall euphoric effect of the build ups and beats.

Sex Appeal: Animal Collective released their first album Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished in the year 2000 right at the forefront of the new electronic movement becoming mainstream, making themselves a key role in bridging what was different and new to the mainstream music culture- hipsters before hipsters. Their music, as it is, attracts generally a younger audience of both audiophiles as well as casual listeners/fulltime partiers. As hands bounced with the music, the aliased members of Animal Collective calmly bobbed back and forth while the college student three bodies down exclaimed, “I wish I was on shrooms!”

Memorable moment: The song “My Girls,” played about half way through the set, was particularly heartfelt and transcendent. As the music radiated like a hypnotic trance from the fairgrounds, the sun was setting and the sky painted a backdrop almost born from the sound.

Overall: Animal Collective was a picturesque look into what electronic music can be at its finest. The only overall disappointment was that the set was not long enough! As they capped off their set list with “Brother Sport” the crowd was still hungry for more. The band hardly moved around on stage but the practiced musicians knew that they didn’t even need to, as the music would do the dancing for them.


Review by Griffin Elliot


Photos by Mark Horton/RBC Bluesfest Press Images

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