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WORTH REPEATING: The NFL’s Alpha Hipster

 

GRANTLAND: Are you guys the Dirty Projectors?” The question comes from one of the few stragglers still hanging at a nearly cleared-out Union Transfer. Animal Collective has just finished a show in Philadelphia, and although the venue is just about empty, the man asking the question is in no hurry to leave. He’s standing here, but he’s clearly somewhere far, far away. But even in his scrambled state, it isn’t hard to trace this stranger’s line of thought. At 6-foot-4, 264 pounds with three-day stubble, the man seated on the bleacher behind him does look like someone. Connor Barwin smiles. “Nope,” he says. “We’re just people here watching the show like you.”

“OK,” the stranger says. “Sorry. I’m tripping balls.”

He wasn’t the only one. An hour earlier, a girl in the bleachers sits hunched over with her face in her hands, the aural onslaught disagreeing with whatever else was in her system. Animal Collective’s music tends to produce this effect; their set is an immersion into complete sensory stimulation. The smell of weed hangs in the air, and the unceasing wall of sound is coupled with an overwhelming series of visuals. A large white screen hangs on the wall behind the band, and canvas pads line the area above and below the stage. Projected onto each blank surface is an identical combination of spinning colors and shapes. “This is so weird,” Barwin says. He’s not complaining. The Eagles linebacker is perched in his usual spot at Union Transfer, in the half-dozen rows of bleachers at the back of the balcony. Tucked up here, he’s less conspicuous, but he still stands out from the crowd of thin, plaid-draped bodies. He’s wearing slim, dark jeans folded once at the bottom to reveal black leather oxfords (no socks), and a blue T-shirt featuring Keith Haring’s See No Evil. This is life for Barwin — 12 hours earlier, he was arriving at Lincoln Financial Field to play the Giants, and now he’s casually taking in some Sunday-night experimental psychedelia. MORE

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Look for our zany Q&A with Connor Barwin tomorrow on a Phawker near you!

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