PHOTOS / RECAP: Animal Collective / Micachu and The Shapes @ Paramount, Seattle 9/18/12

Performing inside a giant recreation of the cover art from its new album, Centipede Hz, Animal Collective enticed the Paramount into a trance Tuesday night. The fantastic stage setup featured four colorful, conical sculptures surrounding the band, and rows of massive teeth above and below where it stood.

After a fun experimental pop-punk opening from Micachu and the Shapes, the headlining set began with undulating sound textures, a dark stage bathed in patterns, and sound manipulator Brian Weitz onstage alone, leading the way. In Animal Collective, Weitz (a.k.a. Geologist, for the headlamp he wears to see his controls) mans the main mixing board, controlling the other members’ motley range of sounds and screams, while his headlamp’s swaying, erratic movements mesmerize.

Weitz was soon joined by bandmates David Portner (a.k.a. Avey Tare), Josh Dibb (Deakin) and Noah Lennox (Panda Bear), settling in for a seamless two-hour set in which the band only broke its meditative splendor once or twice to ask the crowd how they were doing.

Animal Collective’s members’ eclectic individual tastes have always allowed for experimentation with a wide range of styles, even within the same record. Seemingly dissimilar tracks like Centipede’s contemplative head-nodder “New Town Burnout” and frenetic, danceable, synth-driven “Monkey Riches” blended in harmony, sounding as smooth back-to-back live as they do on the album. Though Portner and Lennox usually sing, Dibb — who sat out the band’s last album Merriwether Post Pavillion (which featured the hit single, “My Girls”) — lent his unique voice to “Wide Eyed,” which the band played third on Tuesday.

For the band, Dibb’s reemergence has allowed for a return to the beautiful chaos of 2008’s Strawberry Jam, rather than a repeat of Merriweather’s sample-based pop. That album was wonderful, but it’s great seeing Animal Collective expanding its sound even further as the original foursome. At the end of the Centipede-heavy set, the band busted out Jam’s bouncy, infectious hit “Peacebone.” The crowd jumped and screamed along to the song’s rowdy chorus with Portner. It was a perfect false ending, and once “My Girls” came two songs into the encore, the crowd was ready, singing and swaying under the brilliant set of rainbow teeth.

Animal Collective is an audio/visual experience unlike any other. Those willing to let go and let the music take them where it will, are in for a fantastic ride.

Setlist:

Also Frightened
Applesauce
Wide Eyed
Today’s Supernatural
Honeycomb
Lion In a Coma
Moonjock
Pulleys
New Town Burnout
Monkey Riches
Brothersport
Peacebone
_ _ _

Cobwebs
My Girls
Amanita

Originally from San Francisco, CA, Victoria lives in Seattle, WA, and completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Photography at Seattle University. Her passion is making live music look as great as it sounds. She is the sole Seattle contributor for Live Music Blog, and her work has been featured in The Stranger and Seattle Weekly. Her 2012 BFA thesis, "Seattle DIY: Live Music," has been displayed at various cafes in the Seattle area. For a behind the scenes look at music, she shoots in-studio performances at local radio station KEXP.