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Animal Collective - Coronet Club, London, 11/7/2007

  by Chris O'Toole

published: 23 / 7 / 2007



Animal Collective - Coronet Club, London, 11/7/2007

intro

At gig at the London Coronet Club, Chris O' Toole enjoys seeing electro pioneers the Animal Collective play an enthrallingly experimental set


To some the Elephant and Castle, in south London, is a malign collection of ‘Irreversible’ style underpasses and perplexing roundabouts. Indeed, I was formerly of this opinion until I discovered the one small diamond in the rough of this run down area of the national capital. The Coronet Club, existing on the same site for over 150 years and famously home to Charlie Chaplin’s first live performances, is a sparkling, ornate venue on the fringes of the capital; akin to both the Forum and Astoria in terms of size and atmosphere. Replete with a decadent, yet faded façade the Coronet reeks of sepia tinted nostalgia, reveling in its illustrious past and now, finally, in possession of a secure future. Such an idiosyncratic venue is ideally suited to the eccentric, eclectic and ecstatic charms of the Animal Collective. Before the main attraction this evening the crowd is, however, offered a warm-up in form of Marnie Stern. A female singer songwriter Stern pummels the audience with heavily amplified guitar rock and is supported by an accomplished guitarist and nimble drummer. There are elements of Sonic Youth to her performance, or rather would be Sonic Youth, with Stern striving for the devious charms of Kim Gordon, but never reaching such heights. Tonight she seems to have mistaken shouting and off-key wailing for the deliberate manipulation of structure and tone employed by her luminous influences; coming across as a deranged kindergarten teacher, thrashing out macabre nursery rhymes. Throughout the performance Stern insists each track has a different sound, but this is largely due to a mere change of guitar peddle and the underlying homogeneity of her performance is difficult to hide. In line with her dexterous guitarist Stern forsakes the usual guitar techniques, instead running both hands furtively across the fret board and eliciting tiny fragments of sound, sometimes a little too close to 80's doodlers including, of all people, Guns ‘N’ Roses. The combined effect of voice and guitar is messy and unfocused, and, although she suggests severe sleep deprivation may be partially responsible, the assembled audience is less than sympathetic when she leaves the stage. The Animal Collective, however, are an entirely different kettle of fish. Forsaking an increasingly promising solo career Panda Bear, aka Noah Lennox, and his band mates David Porter and Brian Weitz appear as a trio this evening, partially in support of their new album, 'Strawberry Jam', which is out later this year. Bathed in green and red light at centre stage the group play an assortment of synths, keyboards and machines to create versatile haze of loops, beats and noise. The two cornerstones, however. of tonight’s performance are frenetic, primitive drumming and colorful vocal contributions, both of which bare full fruit on the live stage. Whilst these components are evident in the Animal Collective’s recorded output they are often disguised under layers of studio manipulation, but live they are given fresh impetus and vigor allowed to flourish and soar above the maelstrom. The show is one continuous set, composed of interweaving vocal melodies which explode out at unexpected tangents, briefly dazzling before disappearing in an instant. Drums, samples and vocals are all combined to create genuine flashes of elation amongst the crowd before dissolving back into their composite elements. ‘Who Could Wind Rabbit’ is thrown in early to rapt applause but momentum is built and dissipated at leisure, energy ebbing and flowing throughout the hour long set during which the audience is fixated. The Animal Collective rely less on their established material, preferring instead to experiment and evolve, both in the studio and live, and as a result the show is a collage of recognizable snippets, new experiments and free experimentation. The real strength of Lennox’s voice is demonstrated in a variety of guises as he sings everything from playful odes to Beach Boys style melodies in sync with his band mates, to become the star of the show. There is a palpable feeling of excitement amongst the crowd as the show draws to a close. The last moment revered as much as the first. The Animal Collective remain an enthralling live act and their relentless quest for experimentation guarantees them a bright and rosy future.



Picture Gallery:-
Animal Collective - Coronet Club, London, 11/7/2007


Animal Collective - Coronet Club, London, 11/7/2007



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