Avey Tare at Triple Rock, 12/7/11
Avey Tare, pseudonymed "frontman" of the very popular "collective" Animal Collective, released an album last year called Down There, a piece supposedly inspired by crocodiles.
How now, swamp cow?
Sure, crocodiles. Avey Tare, a.k.a. David Portner, loves the snaggle-toothed beasts.
This is the only real crocodile song I know.
Oh but Nikki, t'ain't a crocodile song t'all; that song's 'bout allygaters. Okay, you got me there. Guess I don't know a durned thing 'bout no crocodile songs. EXCEPT THIS ONE:
Fair 'nuff. On closer listen, Avey Tare's solo stuff does sound... swampier than his work with Animal Collective. Animal Collective never quite resonated with me, though I understand full well why they're so popular. They sound like the damned Beach Boys. Or, more accurately, they sound... like Band of Horses imitating the Beach Boys but bleepier and bloopier, a little better lit, and with cooler funny names. And why did people ever like the Beach Boys? It was those goddamned saccharine-smack melodies! Animal Collective's tapped right into 'em. Which is why I get so confused that my friends, who as a whole tend toward a slightly more obscure, more esoteric ear, report that they love the band. This, to me, seems too easy. I've seen Animal Collective perform live, and that's my complaint. "Dude, you jive to (insert name of obscure band no white cap frat dude's ever listened to here); why you jivin' with this white cap frat dude dance music?!?"
Alligators, crocodiles, swampy Beach Boys - whatever it is, Avey Tare takes it just a step further into the obscure, to a place where I can buy that the musical intelligentsia might be moved by the stuff.
And me? I can hardly purport to be a member of the musical intelligentsia. I think I'm closer to a hick. But I do have an affection for noisy, strange and beat-heavy stuff. Avey Tare solo toes that line better than does his Collective. And so, you'd better believe I'm tapping my toe. Appealing as it did to all my sensibilities: hick (crocodiles!), esoteric art dude (I will pretend!), noisy drum shit (love it!), I enjoyed his Wednesday night Triple Rock set very much. I mean, fuck the Beach Boys, anyway. We're talkin' 'bout Crocodilia here!
Opening the Wednesday night show was Black Dice vocalist Eric Copeland, who played to a nicely-sized crowd considering the nine o'clock hour at this 18-plus show. His cacophony was a delight, and as engaging as I'd like all noise music to be: a little, not too much. Barely melodic, but with a rhythmic swirliness of the loops that entrances just-so. And he seemed to be singing through some sort of Tom Waits-Cookie Monster vocal manipulator. I can dig.
And above all, snaps to the sound guy. The sound was mixed so, so appropriately to the music, the room, and to the temperament of the crowd.
Critic's bias: I'd love to tell you, but it should really happen over drinks.
The crowd: 18+ per the door rules, but these folks totally looked like they'd lived at least a bit of the Reagan administration. The Clinton? Maybe? I hope so.
Overheard in the crowd: Not a peep.