This past weekend we went beyond the basement of Cayuga Lodge and Ithaca at large, for a show seven hours away in Portsmouth, NH: Animal Collective’s debut of their new album Painting With (2016). The show made the far drive one-hundred percent worth the gas guzzling. Painting With officially dropped on February 19th, after a long awaited release. Though the group put out a live album in 2015, Painting With is their first original album in four years. Members Avey Tare, Panda Bear, and Geologist headline this album without their historical fourth member, Deakin.
The concert was held at Portsmouth’s 3S Artspace, an intimate venue with a small bar and a capacity of about 200 people. Animal Collective utilized the limited 3S Artspace to its fullest extent, with abstract sculpture pieces and stop motion video projected on every possible screen and surface. The video art pieces changed to accompany specific tracks.
In addition to opening with several songs from their new album, AnCo took a suggestion from the audience and played a soulful, resonating version of “The Bees” (from their 2005 album Feels), which sounded just as magical and atmospheric as the recording. Having only listened to Painting With completely through one or two times, we attended the concert with fresh ears and were definitely not disappointed. The takeaway from this show, among many, many other aspects, was the group’s masterful improvisation. Half of the show was basically watching three guys jam together, exuding love for their craft. Each track or improvisational piece transitioned flawlessly into the next. Disappointingly, a large part of the crowd was thoroughly sloshed, but this didn’t stop AnCo from infusing the space with ever-present energy, positivity, and lust for life.
Each set up in front of their respective synthesizer or sound board–Avey Tare, Panda Bear, and Geologist–communicated through beats, rarely acknowledging each other’s presence. Each new sound methodically, but spontaneously, collided with the next. Avey Tare’s eyes seldom opened and Geologist was obscured by his identifiable headlamp. Needless to say, Animal Collective stayed true to their unique style of performance: putting on shows through musical expression rather than feats of choreography or crowd interaction. The band stopped maybe thrice to say a few quick comments to the crowd, never breaking the flow of the concert. The band didn’t need words to speak to the crowd, they let their art speak for itself. This kind of performance emanates maturity and mindfulness; a telltale sign of seasoned performers. Animal Collective closed the show with their Painting With single “Floridada,” an energetic track that left the crowd thoroughly satisfied with a taste of another new phase in the Animal Collective evolution.
Check out Painting With on Spotify and Apple Music, or go to AnCo’s website for more info: http://myanimalhome.net/home/#/navigation
Olivia is a junior studying film in the college of Arts and Sciences. She was born and raised in the teeny tiny fishing town of Soldotna, Alaska. When she’s not frolicking around outside, she can be found watching cartoons or drinking tea in her catbug onesie.