Sunday, March 1, 2009

Animal Collective, Ariel Pink at the Henry Fonda Theater. February 26, 2009. Los Angeles, CA.

Four years ago, you might have caught Animal Collective supporting (and overshadowing) Black Dice on a small stage, improvising an hour's worth of animal calls. Now they're selling out venues to accomodate numbers in the quadruple digits, playing actual "songs" off actual "albums."

But they bring out the hippies that even L.A. itself didn't know existed in L.A. (the indie ones, anyway), and while these hippie folk did their weird hippie dances, arms flowing and shit, to a massively applauded "My Girls," a rendition of "Slippi" ringing with only half the chaos of its recorded counterpart, and an extended version of the gorgeous "Fireworks," they also turned out to be the same people who chatted with their neighbors, and said courteous things like "excuse me" and "thank you." Who knew?

Thank goodness Animal Collective rescheduled their postponed dates (an issue after Avey Tare was too sick to sing when scheduled for last month); they gave us something to be happy about. The chick walking by the east side of the room smells like meat? No worries, she's friendly and asks to be excused as she brushes past. That dude in front of you looks laughable while pounding his chest to the rhythm? Whatevs, he's just happy. It's a bit bittersweet that Animal Collective's not still small enough to play tiny venues (the next night's Troubadour show was only a supplement), as the only downside to this show was that the Fonda's simply too big to carry Animal Collective's audible details as sharply as they're heard on record.

It should also be said that supporting act Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti is a spectacle for any audience. I used to listen to Ariel Pink albums on occasion and wonder what kind of a performer he'd be, maybe hitting "play" on a boombox and speak-singing over infomercials or whatnot. But he's got a live band now, which sounds tinny and vintage and nearly identical to the recorded junk he'd gotten down on tape a few years ago.

I also used to look at one of his album photos, of a manboy with a threatening grin and black lipstick or whatever drawn all over his face, and think, "Ah! What sloppy artwork." But alas, that work of art was Ariel Pink himself, and it turns out he does sort of resemble a mental case in person. And much like David Bowie in the Labyrinth, it's sort of intimidating to look at an unstable-looking man in a spandex jumpsuit, though unlike Bowie, Pink likes to keep an eco-friendly shopping bag on hand. Just in case there's a sale on stage, I guess.

Spandex + shopping bag + technical difficulties = interesting results. (Ariel Pink joke, har har.)

Animal Collective:


Unknown said...

I like your pictures. they're pretty sweet!

China said...

Hey, thank you. The lighting was dreadful during Animal Collective's set, so there were a number of photos that didn't even remotely pass the test.