Animal Collective haven’t forgotten how to be delightfully weird, delivering a manic mind melt at LA’s Greek Theatre

Animal CollectiveBy Rochelle Shipman //

Animal Collective with SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE //
Greek Theatre – Los Angeles
May 20th, 2022 //

It’s safe to say that a lot has changed in the world over the last two years, but there’s one thing that has thankfully remained the same about Animal Collective: they’re still weird as shit and delightful as all hell.

Their triumphant display at the Greek Theatre felt like a long-awaited psychedelic hug, a comforting two hours of pure and manic mind melt. Animal Collective’s music can be somewhat divisive, so to be with 5,000 of your newest friends at a concert screaming along to some of your most treasured songs … it never gets old, even if you don’t know exactly what it is that they’re saying all the time. In fact, that only adds to the beauty of it since they formed more than two decades ago.

Friday’s headlining performance in LA all the sweet spots. The last pre-pandemic tour or two had each member of Animal Collective tucked behind rightful, yet artful individual podiums, which decorated the stage and elevated the show in its own right. But after a chaotic couple of years for all of us, it felt really good to have all four of them together on the same stage, instruments spread about, baring it all in front of a live audience with nothing except a few cables and some keyboards separating them. It was a solid reminder that these guys make these stunningly intricate songs with their own human hands after all.

Avey Tare (David Portner), Deakin (Josh Dibb) and Geologist (Brian Weitz) pivoted back and forth from strings to keys and synths, rarely looking up and never missing a beat, while just watching Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) coo and harmonize from behind his drum kit damn near felt like a privilege. And yet, they hardly exchanged so much as a glance at each other, somehow bringing an even more impressive layer to the group’s already-electrifying catalog.

Animal Collective

The setlist was perfect, the visuals were on point as ever and the band was tight on this night. Animal Collective are never loose per se — their music literally doesn’t allow it — but they glided through each song with such a familiar air of ease. In the handful of shows I’ve been lucky enough to catch over the years, they tend to use their live shows to test out brand-new material and dip into older songs — both beloved favorites and those that don’t always get to see the light of day. Given the COVID-19 pandemic over the last two years, it’s safe to say that their 11th and newest studio album Time Skiffs didn’t exactly get that same pre-release tour treatment. This show made up for that, not only with the band righteously tearing through the bulk of the nine-track LP that dropped in February, but also with the packs of “Time Spliffs” rolling papers available at the merch table (right next to the safe abortion access information).

In addition to the Skiffs and one or two new songs, Animal Collective offered cuts from Centipede HZ, Strawberry Jam, Merriweather Post Pavilion and two songs off ODDSAC. They didn’t touch Painting With or any of the fantastic singles from the EPs surrounding it, and they didn’t dig into anything pre-Strawberry Jam. As a Strawberry Jam purist, I again felt privileged to be there. Not only did we get to hear “Chores”, but we got a fiery encore of “Unsolved Mysteries” right into a raucous rendition of “For Reverend Green” to close out a four-song encore.

Within seconds of the house lights flickering on, someone in front of me lamented the absence of “My Girls”. He turned around and said, “I don’t get it. That was such a weak ending. Why wouldn’t they play their biggest hit?” To clarify (and as I confirmed by the look on his friend’s face), “For Reverend Green” was not a weak ending. It was, in fact, exhilarating. And it’s nothing against that dude — it was his first Animal Collective show. He’ll probably enjoy the next one more because he won’t be expecting it, and maybe he’ll even be surprised.

Animal Collective didn’t play “My Girls” partially because that guy expected it. They don’t champion their biggest hit in a way that many bands would. They’re not there to play the hits, and it’s clear at this phase in their career that they don’t have to be. Their live stage time is and always has been cherished among them, reserved for the songs they feel like sharing with fans and nothing else. For us, it’s just a privilege to bear witness after all these years.

Setlist:
Passer-By
Bluish
Gem and I
Wide Eyed
Prester John
Cherokee
In the Flowers
Working
Strung With Everything
We Go Back
Chores
Applesauce

Encore:
Screens
No More Runnin
Unsolved Mysteries
For Reverend Green

The Strokes, LCD Soundsystem, Le Tigre, Phoebe Bridgers, Beach House & more give This Ain’t No Picnic new life in 2022

This Ain't No Picnic Festival 2022

This Ain’t No Picnic //
Brookside at the Rose Bowl – Pasadena, CA
August 27th-28th, 2022 //

As we have said in this space before, it has not been an easy time for the live music industry by any stretch of the imagination. Whether you’re an artist, employee or fan, enduring 18 months without in-person events was painful to experience. So, maybe it’s fitting Goldenvoice is reviving a festival that hasn’t been around in almost 20 years at this point.

The renowned California concert promoter is bringing back This Ain’t No Picnic for the first time since 2002 and taking over the Brookside Golf Course at the Rose Bowl for two days in late August (warning: it will be hot) with a killer roster that screams “Pitchfork Fest!”

A couple of NYC indie-rock giants in The Strokes and LCD Soundsystem, who are currently in the middle of a 20-date residency at Brooklyn Steel, will serve as headliners while the fest’s undercard offers its own set of highlights starting with the reunion of Le Tigre, another NYC product who last reunited in 2016 to release “I’m with Her” as their latest single.

Other notable names bolstering the iconic indie music festival’s lineup in 2022 include Phoebe Bridgers, Beach House, Jorja Smith, Kaytranada, Jungle, IDLES, Isaiah Rashad, Sparks, Turnstile, Circle Jerks, Descendents, Caroline Polachek, Mac Demarco, Slowthai, Courtney Barnett, Four Tet + Floating Points, Tinashe, Earl Sweatshirt, Yves Tumor, Queen Naija, Honey Dijon, Sleep, Deafheaven and more. Peep the poster above for the rest of the artists scheduled to perform.

Making its debut at Oak Canyon Ranch in Silverado where past incarnations of Lightning in a Bottle and other music festivals in the Southern California area have also taken place, This Ain’t No Picnic exposed the raw energy of punk-leaning, indie darlings like Sonic Youth, Sleater-Kinney and Guided by Voices in 1999 before taking another step toward the mainstream by booking Beck, Yo La Tengo, Built to Spill, At the Drive-In and Modest Mouse for its 2000 edition.

With there being more optimism surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic heading into next year, you can bet that tickets for this one will go quick so make sure to sign up for the presale occurring on Thursday, December 9th at 10 a.m. PT here before they go on sale at 2 p.m. PT here. GA passes will be available for $299-$349, with VIP going for $799 and Clubhouse at an eye-opening $1,199. But if you’re looking to dance and sweat your ass off in the Pasadena heat, this is the only summer picnic you’ll want to be at!

This Ain't No Picnic 2022 - daily lineups

UPDATE (May 3rd): This Ain’t No Picnic has delivered daily lineups for its return this August, with LCD Soundsystem headlining Saturday and The Strokes closing out the two-day festival on Sunday. Single-day tickets go on sale this Friday, May 6th at 10 a.m. PT here.

Goldenvoice