SHOW REVIEW: Animal Collective In Denver

photo by Alicia Trujillo

SHOW REVIEW: Animal Collective In Denver
by Adam Perry for Denver Westword, 7/26/2018

Toward the end of 1970’s Burnt Weeny Sandwich – one of Frank Zappa’s most brilliant and strange early albums – the beautiful madness of a live Mothers of Invention recording culminates in Zappa telling an audience “Everybody in this room is wearing a uniform, and don’t kid yourself.” Those words rang true as I walked into a packed 2,000-capacity Ogden Theater in Denver to see Animal Collective.

Around one in five men in the audience wore the outfit pioneered by Animal Collective and cemented in recent years by ironic indie-rock darling Mac DeMarco: The goofy hat is key, whether it’s a beat-up old extended-brim fishing cap like Smalls wore in the Sandlot, a bucket hat or just one of those baseball caps that looks a few sizes too small. Then there’s the t-shirt, preferably oversized, maybe some canvas pants, and then tennis shoes. Memes online illustrate this uniform perfectly, but seeing it over and over in person last night at Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs tour in Denver was something else.

Like the Beastie Boys before them – though to a smaller niche centered around college students in the late aughts until recent years – Animal Collective has had a deep cultural influence spanning music, fashion and attitude.

That uniform does little if anything to touch the surface of why Animal Collective – which is slated to release a new double album next month – is an important band. After just a few moments of Panda Bear and Avey Tare’s acoustic guitars talking with each other last night as the duo performed Animal Collective’s 2004 breakthrough Sung Tongs, fashion, attitudes, even the doomsday politics of our time, quickly faded from immediate relevance.


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