More than a year out since the release of his stellar solo debut Down There, Avey Tare (real name David Portner) descended on Eagle Rock’s beautiful Center for the Arts Friday night, flooding the small hall and its occupants in washes of the sonic-collage pastiche he’s popularized as a founding member of Animal Collective. Opening with an acapella rendition of The Beach Boys’ “Wouldn’t It Be Nice” (played over a slow-phased synth tone), Tare worked through a set that was surprisingly heavy on new, unreleased material. An untitled song that fans have dubbed “Song for Jerome” segued smoothly into ”Lucky 1″, while other new tracks such as “[Sometimes]” and “Death Raga”, which served as a noisy coda to Down There highlight “Laughing Hieroglyphic”, were about as well received by the rapturous sold-out audience as anything he played all night.
As his AnCo colleague Panda Bear did for months before releasing Tomboy, Tare has spent the past few months road-testing new material, despite not yet having toured material off of Down There. The album’s markedly dark and insular quality, which stand in stark contrast with much of AnCo’s considerably buoyant catalog, was reportedly inspired by an especially dark time in Tare’s life and took on a noticeably cathartic edge in the live setting. “Lucky 1”, for instance, was punctuated by his persistent shouts of “Were you crying?” over a dense wash of noise. The majority of the new material sounded fairly consistent with this quality; the wistful, moody “In Photographs” and the aforementioned “Death Raga” flowed freely from the Down There tracks that preceded and followed them.
While Tare didn’t stick around for an encore – instead taking a bow, thanking the crowd, and retiring for the night over the lingering drone of “Death Raga” – it’s safe to say that in whatever respect we next hear from him next – whether in the form of a second solo album or that long-awaited ninth Animal Collective LP – we’re sure to be pleased.
Song For Jerome