Amoeblog


Show Wrap: Animal Collective at the Hollywood Bowl; Beach House at the Wiltern

Posted by Billy Gil, September 27, 2012 03:30pm | Post a Comment
Animal Collective Hollywood Bowl
Animal Collective's crazy, toothy stage show
Two recent L.A. shows were a study of contrasts for two established and much-loved independent artists. Animal Collective played the Hollywood Bowl Sept. 23 after a set from Flying Lotus (aka Steven Ellison), whose Until the Quiet Comes streets Oct. 1 (preorder here). Fly Lo’s heady material isn’t exactly tailor-made for arenas (“You can stand up if you want,” Ellison quipped at one point), but with the help of spinning records from the likes of the Beastie Boys, he had a lot of the younger crowd at the sold-out Bowl standing in their seats and raising their hands. Animal Collective played a set that largely drew from their newest album, Centipede Hz. So how you felt about the show probably had a lot to do with how much you like the new album. I myself haven’t fallen for it yet, though I might — Animal Collective albums are known to be growers. But the difference was palpable when they’d play a song like “My Girls” from their much-loved Merriweather Post Pavillion vs. one of the newer songs, which hearken back to their murkier early days, rather than their more pop-leaning recent albums. The more clearly cut songs from the new album, such as the Avey Tare-sung "Today's Supernatural," translated best live. They threw in tracks like Merriweather’s “Lion in a Coma” and “Brothersport” and Strawberry Jam’s “Peacebone,” as well, but with nine-plus albums of great material from which to draw, greater variety would have been nice.
 
Beach House
Beach House's Victoria Legrand rounded out the set by headbanging her glorious curls
Their Baltimore brethren in Beach House had the luxury of having recently put out their best-received album yet (still my No. 1 of this year), Bloom. But that didn’t stop them from playing a lot of songs from 2010’s Teen Dream at their Wiltern show Sept. 26, as well as a few from Devotion (I don’t recall them playing any from the first album). It’s difficult to put into words just how efficiently Beach House move from song to song, album to album without a hitch, stopping just a couple of times to say hello and sounding virtually pitch-perfect on every song. It’s also hard to pinpoint highlights — where to start? — especially since they seemed to attack both the older and newer material with equal glee. “Lazuli,” “Wishes” and “Irene,” with its extended build and excellent guitarwork from Alex Scally, all stood out to me from the new album. Victoria Legrand grew more commanding on the songs where her drawl could be held out for extended notes, such as on Devotion’s spine-chilling “Turtle Island.” This is to say nothing of touring member Daniel Franz’s drumwork, which despite the dreamy vibe of the music could sound like a gunshot through the haze, given the John Bonham force of his beat. It’s debatable if Beach House is the best band on the planet right now, but live, they were so assured of their sound, so skilled at mining their own catalog, that it’d be hard to dispute they’re in the running.
 
To read my rundown of Amoeba’s Rock the Vote event with Murs & Fashawn and Band of Horses, click here.

Relevant Tags

Animal Collective (11), Beach House (16)