Avey Tare at The Chapel, The Melodic Voice of Animal Collective

Avey Tare (David Michael Portner of Animal Collective) has been releasing solo music for over a decade. His work mixes the digital and modern with the immediate and personal. Covid led to isolation for Dave just as it did for so many others. This meant collaboration was impossible or full of complex planning so it happened rarely. While recording Animal Collective’s Time Skiff’s EP at his home studio during 2020, Dave kept gathering snippets and song outlines. In 2021, he took these to previous collaborator and friend Adam McDaniel’s Drop of Sun Studios in Asheville, North Carolina to flesh them out.

The journey from solo isolation to deep collaboration led to the new album, 7s. Less inscrutable than Animal Collective, Dave’s music has more intimacy and candor. His set at The Chapel in San Francisco opened with a song about an accident from his youth. Searching for meaning and specialness in an event from his past, regardless of how random or intentional it may have been. Dave spread his distinct emotive whooping howls throughout the set. The audience energetically responded. The lyrics mixed the everyday and surreal, but transformed them into the hyper-real. Dave zooms in on small gestures or elements, and sometimes highlights their strangeness. These feelings were amplified by the lighting and video projections.


But the lyrics, and the acoustic portion of the show, emphasized the more immediate, more simple, raw emotions. “Heart is open to it now,” remembering holding hands. Simple, real. Things easy to forget when we’re all on our phones and other screens. During a song about the ocean, Dave evoked praying like Buddha while imitating Tuvan throat singing. Contrasts of coffee, a daily and manageable activity, and the vast ocean, wet and dry land. The lyrics reinforced the spiritual: “Getting pulled under can enlighten yah.”


Dave ended the show at The Chapel with no encore, which is somewhat uncommon in modern concert going. Whatever the reason, I appreciate the outcome. It reinforced the real and removed some of the artifice. After starting a song in the wrong key, he said:  “It always changes. Better that way.” Digital zen, as much as one can find.

The opener, Danny Perez with the moniker DPSD, has done some videos and visual arts for Animal Collective. Like Dave, he was alone on stage. Accompanied by his computer and guitar, he was a one man music-noise machine. He won over the audience with his music, visuals, and presence.

Many songs featured hypnotic beats, and crescendoed with electric guitar. Daniel headbanged when he felt the energy. His film and visual background came out with the video projection, which featured real and hyperreal art, an AI reading text, and more. It oozed strange, interesting, and moodiness. The percussive music had many influences. Primarily all kinds of electronic music, and sometimes video game soundtracks.

Hopefully he keeps playing and releasing music.

About the author

Bay Area based drummer - @super_cassette • @ken_newman • @saalt.bb • Problem • @boboskiwattenband • more