Review: Animal Collective at Glastonbury 2009

A mix of something old, something new and something psychedelic satisfied the assembled hipsters and chin-strokers

Who: Animal Collective

Where and when: Park stage, 11:15pm

Dress code: T-shirts and jeans – as an experimental music outfit Animal Collective aren't really about the pop-star-style threads. There are a couple of flamboyant touches: the keyboards are dressed in the trippy artwork for this year's superlative album Merriweather Post Pavillion, and Geologist (as usual) wears a torch on his head a la Orbital.

What happened: After years freaking out a small and devoted band of followers with intense but inaccessible music, Animal Collective have started writing actual tunes, and their audience has increased exponentially. Their set mixed the Beach Boys-on-peyote stylings of the current album with the surging, almost tribal music they've made in the past, all topped off by harmonies that sound like someone yodelling down the grand canyon. Guitars are at a minimum; loops, samples and ricocheting drums are turned up to 11.

Who's watching: A generous throng of ravers, hipsters, art students and chin-strokers.

High points: Like a great DJ set, the show builds to an ecstatic climax, with final song Brother Sport inspiring the world's artiest conga. "You guys are sweet, have fun," says Panda Bear, as the crowd leave wide-eyed and sated.

Low points: Stagecraft is slight, and My Girls, one of this year's anthems, was rather thrown away early on.

In a tweet: The spirit of Glastonbury distilled into a glorious hour of trippy and futuristic pop.


Alex Needham

The GuardianTramp

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