Animal Collective thought it was awesome playing their two-show stint to close out this year’s Celebrate Brooklyn music series in Prospect Park this weekend. I know this because Avey kept saying “It’s so awesome to play here” on Saturday night. (He also said that everything was “sweet” a lot, and that the Park’s Bandshell was “the best place to play in New York … it’s sweet and outside.” See.) However sweet it is to play, the Bandshell is one of the city’s best places to take in a show, particularly for a band like Animal Collective, at the height of both their powers and their popularity. Granted there’s nothing like being in a closed room to contain their dubby, primal screamed psychedelics, but the communal joy of “My Girls” and “Brothersport” being screamed into balmy Brooklyn air is its own sort of fun.
Both the Friday and Saturday shows sold out (that’s 12,000 tickets at $35 a pop), and both featured special Celebrate Brooklyn-only stage design by Avey’s sister Abbey Portner. (She also opened for big bro’s band at that Bowery show earlier this year.) There were cutouts of fish that swayed in the background, 14′ Super Mario-esque light-up mushrooms on either side of the band, and two huge screens that flanked the stage with trippy visuals and images of dorsal finned sealife (underwater bunker vibe, indeed). “What Would I Want Sky” was on display both nights, the sets were less exploratory than Lolla (although longform “Fireworks” medleys still consumed a good portion of each night), and the second evening’s three-song encore came with a nice shot of Panda Bear’s “Comfy In Nautica.” I caught night two, which had a loooong Dam Funk opening set and a shorter one by XXXChange on account of Zomby’s last minute cancellation; photographer Jessica Amaya was on hand to bring back these shots of the stage set and openers Black Dice from night one.