Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Live: Animal Collective, St George's Church, Brighton, 29th October

Here are Animal Collective, born out of time and out of mind, ready to drop the motherfucking cathedral on us maggots. Last night, they played St Georges Church, a lovely old Georgian chapel in Brighton – and filled the space with people and noise. After Swedish support band Islaja (nice, but reminded you of an eighties Turkish Delight advert) finished their dull noodling, Animal Collective opened, glitchy as ‘owt, a single note tapped out over and over again, a raw electronic drone fuzzing away.Glitches, glimpses of melody fuzzed in and out. So far, so inescapably captivating, so what you'd expect from AC. It's not until 'Peacebone'’s irresistible, stuttering hook – the closest Panda and Avey's boys get to a Radio-Friendly – that something clicks into place about them: not only are they one of the most thrillingly experimental bands on the planet, they might also be one of the funnest. And they're alright to dance to. MC Avey Tare can’t keep still and is having the time of his bleedin' life: always silhouetted, but always nodding, bent over his mic or yelling up, over into the balcony's crowds. While their rock is leaves us mortals struggling for words wrapped round our headphones, grabbing at and trying to pick instrumentation (let alone influences) out of the yummy cacophony, when heard live, it comes together. Giving yourself a fake name and drawing pandas in a band with your best friends? That’s fucking awesome, man. Doing tricks like splicing forthcoming single 'Fireworks' into oldie 'Explosions' into a seamless wall of noise in a big church in Brighton while strobes flare around you? Fucking awesome, man. Chopping Carl Craig's elegant piano loops into The Beach Boys' harmonies with drone-era Sabbath blasting away, heavier than gravity? Well, who wouldn't?

As songs get screwed and chopped together, the melodies get lost along the way, fading in and out, touching from a distance. Oh, sod it. Their sonic bombast doesn’t need much explaining. This was Cathedral-sized rock fit to leave the whole world squirming outside. True, there is something that could veer close to prog here, what with all the abstract noise and mass, "conceptual" dynamics of a church. Lester Bangs once said, scathingly, after a coughsyrup-drenched Tangerine Dream concert in a planetarium that the thing about seeing God is that it is really fucking boring. But seeing Animal Collective isn’t like seeing God – it’s like having Him vomit rainbows on you forever. Awesome.

Tour Dates: November 1st London Astoria, 3rd Manchester New Century Hall, 4th Dublin Tripod, 5th Leeds Irish Center, 6th Glasgow Oran Mor

New single Fireworks is out on Domino Nov 5th.

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