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BEING THERE: Animal Collective DJs The Dolphin

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Photo by MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ

Last night I set out to accomplish three things: 1.) See 75 percent of Animal Collective play some tunes 2.) Milk them for any AC-related news, and 3.) Make it in and out of the Dolphin alive and not incarcerated.

We started off the night with an Uber driver named Festus, who drove us through the unwelcome November snow showers, and shared with us his grievances about the whole Uber vs. PPA deal. Something, something, current events, the PPA ruled against something and he’s pissed. I tried to follow, but his angry Jamaican accent made it difficult. So I spent the ride drawing smiley faces in the fog of the window and tuned him out. Sorry Festus.

Arriving at the Dolphin was like making it to Mecca for a hardened Animal Collective superfan such as myself —- a dark, dreary, wet Mecca with sweaty hipsters inside. I gave the bouncer my $10 and ID. I got a little DOLPHIN stamp on my wrist, and dipped into the crowd of people. It was already packed for a Thursday night. Inside, the Dolphin was perfectly suited for the event with its tiled walls lighting up in vibrant flashes of color. The music was upbeat and exciting, I would even go as far as to say that there were totally “good vibes,” but that phrase makes me nauseous, so I’d prefer not to.

When Animal Collective finally came on, it was about midnight, and there weren’t three members of Animal Collective as promised, just two: Avey Tare and Geologist. Panda Bear, safe to assume, was busy smoking some weed seaside in Portugal. Although two out of four was not a bad deal, Deakin was nowhere to be seen. I crept up on the DJ booth to enquire about his whereabouts. “HE’S DEAD!” Avey Tare shouted, seemingly undisturbed by this development. I screamed back “Ahhhh!” at him and walked away as my scream faded into the predictably trippy electronica of AC’s DJing.

Over the course of AC’s set, I pulled myself up on the DJ booth several more times, partly motivated by cheap beer, partly by my OHMYGODFUCKINGANIMALCOLLECTIVEISSTANDINGRIGHTFUCKINGTHERE! fangirl impulsivity, and partly because I’m dying to know what the next big AC move is. I talked to Geologist, who was less full of sarcasm than Avey, about AC making music again and he said the year-long solo-project-hiatus is over. They’ve been exchanging snippets of song ideas, but there are no concrete themes nor any shows planned yet. But he DID say that Panda Bear is playing Coachella in April. See you there, PB. I wish.

It was easier to get excited about the new songs they played than Coachella: two unreleased Avey Tare songs, and a Panda Bear song called “Crosswords,” a catchy, rippling little number that will be on his new album, which could potentially blow everyone’s minds when it comes out in January. I probably couldn’t say it enough to make anyone care, though.

When I wasn’t bugging the AC guys, I hung out with the habitués of the Dolphin: the people who spilled their beer on me, the people who asked me to take their pictures (Sorry, no requests.), asked for my business card (I don’t have one.) stomped on my feet with their stupid dancing, and told me I have beautiful armpits. It actually wasn’t all that awful, but after hours of enduring all of that, it was time to go. I let the door of the Dolphin close behind me, leaving with it the music and the maddening crowd, all the while wearing a random jacket that I plucked from the ‘coat check’ pile. Mission accomplished. – MARY LYNN DOMINGUEZ

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