Geologist - This was a DJ set, which did not excite me too much at the outset, but one which I was happy to have spent some time with. Rather than the beat heavy dance music mix, the first of two Animal Collective members here tonight dug deep into his psychedelic record collection and came up with many facets of garage music, space explorers, and Eastern tinged rock. He twisted it around in creative ways, culminating in the Fifty Foot Hose classic, "If Not this Time". That will likely be the first and last time I hear that song through a PA this impressive, so I am happy going into the live music portion of tonight's proceedings.
Regal Degal - Oh I just knew these guys were from LA. I love to go in cold to see band I have not heard of, hear the influences and styles, and then guess correctly as to where they are from. Actually, it is also fun to be wrong and be surprised in life, but not this time. This trio just screams LA post-punk psyche such as the Three O'Clock crossed with some Only Ones power pop. They also have a similar style as the Entrance Band along with the poppiest side of Dead Meadow. The rhythms are more throbbing and steady with loads of guitar exploration and happy stoner vocals. There are bits of electronics, but it is mostly these three guys nailing some attractive popsike songs one moment, and heading off on trippy jams the next. This was great fun and a nice surprise and it was good to see them get just an hour to showcase their skills in this, their DC debut.
Panda Bear - The second Animal Collective member we hear tonight is the one that has had great critical success on his own and has built up plenty of fans that may have heard of him even before they worked back to Animal Collective. But most of the nearly sold-out crowd know his resume quite well, especially as he is from this region. He certainly has all the pop moves to construct catchy little songs, but also changes style just enough to keep things fresh. He is the guy behind a computer and other electronica, but he does sing live and has interesting projections behind him, so it is a good presentation of his songs. I particularly enjoyed one where he looped his voice and worked in live vocal thrusts that created a wildly percussive, yet smooth delivery that sounded quite original for pop music. The crowd had a nice sway going throughout, so the music was working its magic, making for a fine Friday evening.
Quote of the Night - from Regal Degal... "Let's hear it for live music!" This was a rather rough week for me and likely many in the audience as we all cheered this statement, for as we know, live music can get you over many of the hurdles of life.