Going into this gig, I knew next to nothing about Animal Collective, except they were about the only band my current favourite act they came from the stars i saw them are regularly compared too...

Yes boss, when the uncomparable are comparred, you have to go looky see - so I did and here's what i saw..

Rescheduled from the main big, booming Astoria to the Astoria 2, this show was packed out and expectant.

Animal Collective made a slow start - so slow that the first half hour seemed to consist of a slightly more modern and synthesized version of a very long Spacemen 3 track.

Now, to be frank this didn't grab me at all. I was wanting and expecting so a cacophany of drums or a fat bassline to kick in and whisk the whole thing to another more energetic and more fittingly modern level.

I waited and waited, but for a good long while nothing came...

Had I have had something else to do, I might well have been tempted to leave at that point, but I didn't and I'm glad I didn't, because towards the middle of the set, a peak - a wave, started to build and I felt a little foolish for judging the Collective so soon...

I guess this is the peril of getting used to smaller gigs - where the length of a set is almost always less than an hour and often no more than half that. If nothing's kicking off by 20 minutes you write them off and think about what comes next and what's happening at the bar..

So, what started to happen in the second half was the slow build up of crescendos, rhythms, layers, louder vocals and tunes. The music took on a power that the more ambient and directionless earlier jamms hadn't had. There were clearer grooves and even faint hooks. It wasn't dance time, but the music was definately good and it had power and verve...

Vocally, Animal Collective are wierd. They have a penchant for screaming and sometimes it seemed like a 'get out' for want of another voice or vocal option. The strange thing was their screaming doesn't have the aggression screaming most usually does. What I mean, is that the tracks remained quite mellow, pleasant and ambient despite the fact some bloke was bellowing his throat into a microphone..

On a purely visual level, I thought Animal Collective most vividly resembled a modern day Beastie Boys - 3 clean cut New York boys jamming away exploring sound, but soundwise they're not even close to The Beasties. No boss, unlike The Beastie Boys, the Collective appear to be very unlikely to stray into novelty hip hop pop..

Musically I would draw a line around and through Spacemen 3, the earlier quieter side of Spiritualized, a touch of Suicide, edges of Can, and a whole bunch of other stuff thrown into a blender..

As for the comparisons with they came from the stars I saw them - I couldn't see anything much similar between the two acts except that both are difficult to pigeonhole. The stars are a pop disco party band who occasionally drift into longer musical jamms. Animal Collective are a band who appear to revolve around long musical jamms and have very little interest in chart pop music any which way.

So, all in all, it was difficult to nail Animal Collective into anykind of convenient coffin box..

But, to be difficult to compare is the point. And it's this that drew me in at the gig and has continued to draw me in as I've explored the AC records in the three weeks since...

Animal Collective are clearly follwing their own muse and not trying to sound like anyone else. They're tricky and difficult, and that's the main reason I most definately give this gig and them in general and big thumbs up...

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