It was cool, cloudy and hazy Friday evening in late May at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. The stage, however, was lit with a range of bright colors and a backdrop of rozy panels for the headliner, Animal Collective. As I waited in the pit for the music to start, there were talks amongst us about the opener; I had never heard of them, but I was curious to hear them play. As Spirit of the Beehive walked onstage, they were calm, collected and looked like a band that was tuning up and getting ready for a casual garage jam session. Their first three songs were layered with various beats and cyclical heavier pick-ups.
Spirit of the Beehive was a fitting opener for Animal Collective.
As the audience slowly start to fill out and build up throughout their set, so did their music, which was filled with hits from their 2021 album, Entertainment, Death. They had hit their groove and the audience’s energy matched it. Spirit of the Beehive was a pleasing, unassuming and talented slow-core group that will no doubt be added to the playlists of concertgoers that were in attendance Friday night.
It was then time for Animal Collective. Like the slow, layered build-up and zigzagging of melodies in the hit song “My Girls”, the Animal Collective set at The Greek was enthralling and satisfying to near perfection. Promoting their newest album, Time Skiffs, the band came out to “Passer-by”, which immediately dropped us into the trance-like indie psychedelia we all came for. The other four songs from their Time Skiffs album included “Cherokee”, “Preston John”, “Strung with Everything” and “We Go Back”. They then weaved us through songs across the Merriweather Post Pavilion album, with hits like “Bluish” and “In the Flowers”. Peppered into the set were classics from Centipede HZ, including “Apple Sauce” and “Wide Eyed”. Halfway into the show, they briefly left the stage, returning to an uproarious and warmed-up crowd for their four-song encore, which began with “Screens” from their 2010 ODDSAC film, followed by “No More Runnin” from Merriweather Post Pavilion. They wrapped the time warp of an evening with two fan-favorites from the Strawberry Jam album — “Unsolved Mysteries” and “For Reverend Green”. Overall, what could have just been a cloudy and rainy night at The Greek turned into a journey through the groovy jams — both new and nostalgic — of Animal Collective.
Photography by Matty Paster