By: Taylor Morgan
Animal Collective DJ Set
The Constellation Room
It's somewhat chaotic tonight in The Observatory parking lot as the staff prepares for the 6,000 expected attendees of Saturday's La Tocada Fest, arranging porta-potties and testing strobe lights. A line of inpatient men and women wearing black t-shirts, tall socks and sporting some rough looking tattoos stood in line to claim will-call tickets. Local police cars surrounded the venue and security payed special attention to patting down attendees. After a quick stop into the restroom and a not so quick drink line, liquored up folks attempted to trickle into The Constellation room. Security gave a blank stare and without an utterance simply shook their heads pointing to the main stage. "Fool, La Coka Nostra isn't in there! That room is filled with hippies" a guy shouted to his friend.
Eyes glance up to the stage where two guys in jerseys stand behind a table giving a slight head bob as they warm up the turn tables. A couple stands with their backs to one another interlocking arms. The man (with the semblance of a tree) gently bends forward, shifting his girlfriends weight onto his back, adjusting her spine. Those in big brimmed hats and collars buttoned to the brim stand looking bored and somewhat dazed. A group to the left of the stage lay down on the floor caressing their Snuggie's and gently puffing on their vaporizers.
Animal Collective, the revered experimental psychedelic band who calls home somewhere between NYC, Washington, LA and Lisbon walks on the stage and begin to DJ. Just two songs later Joshua Dibb, stage name Deakin approaches the mic and says,"You guys have got to dance. We're not going to do anything else but place music- this is it!" The crowd is melted into active submission and begins to move through space, unaware of their bodies. Some pushing to the front for a better view of the mechanics along stage but quickly coming to the realization that it's just two skinny white guys, that founded Animal Collective, with headphones around their neck eager to play some synthesized tunes they dig. Alongside Deakin was Brian Ross Weitz, stage name Geologist who with intense concentration mixed a fast passed, acid psych sound absent of lyrics.
Intermittently the music slowed, there was silence and then a jungle beat/trance tune would take over. Deakin rolled his neck in a circular motion as a guy began break dancing on the stage. A girl screamed to her friend, "What's going on in here? I need to move, that girl in front of me smells like pasta," her irregularly tall friend responds back, "fettuccine, right?! She laughs and they clink drinks cheering to a collective understanding of one another.
Finally after far too many rave songs pass the duo slowed it down with a mix that nodded to their 2001 Danse Manatee album which explored freak folk and melodic psychedelia. While this was better than the other tracks, much of the noise still sounded like a heartbeat absent of the original guitar, vocals and percussions the fan's dig.
Animal Collective's 2009 album Merriweather Post Pavillion gained international recognition hitting Top 20 in America and peaking at 26 in the U.K. with tracks like "My Girl" and "Brother Sport." But tonight, the crowd was either too high or not high enough to dig the change in pace and people began to leave. Two local Orange County guys in a band called The Bash Dogs, with a sound seemingly inspired by what Animal Collective is famous for, explained their disappointment, "that was dumb and not at all what we expected." In truth no one really knew what to expect from a DJ set designed by a band they love but it was apparent that this was a separate venture for Geologist and Deakin and maybe they should have advertised it as such. Stay tuned for their real tour dates come November!