Special Two-Part Coverage of the Most Hipster Thing I’ll Do All Summer
Part 1: Expectations and Ogres
Hipsters love irony. Defying expectations is central to this most sub- of sub-cultures, so it’s no surprise (or is it?) that before I even made it to Animal Collective’s show at Merriweather Post Pavilion, I was already immersed in a complicated web of dashed preconception. Let’s do some untangling. The members of Animal Collective all have roots in the Baltimore area, yet they’d never played at Merriweather Post Pavilion, even though it’s the venue that inspired the name of the band’s most recent (and most successful) album, an album that, according to an interview with band member Dave Portner, we wouldn’t be hearing much of, since Portner foretold that they’d be playing twelve songs, 70% of which would be new (not a round number), the newness of the songs being old news, since it’s fairly well known that Animal Collective prefers testing new and evolving material on the road over the traditional practice of playing mainly tunes from previous albums. Whew. And I thought ogres had layers. All of this knowing so much and so little at the same time had me over-the-moon excited about the concert, and all hipster jokes aside, it was an incredible experience. There I was at a concert where the whole audience is participating in an exercise of shared discovery. Since most of the songs are works in progress, not even the most stalkery, show-taping, YouTube-searching superfan knows for sure what will happen. It brings to mind that moment you see in Victorian period pieces, when the foppish audience either dispassionately claps or roars in approval after the premiere of a composer’s latest symphony. I felt sublimely lucky to be there, watching one of the greatest bands in the world make beautiful music that’s creative in every sense of the word. Check out one of the songs the band did play off Merriweather Post Pavilion, called “Brother Sport,” and download the album here.