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Reviews: Block Party Extravaganza, Animal Collective

Josh Dibb of Animal Collective performs at the House of Blues. PHOTO: BILL HUGHES
Josh Dibb of Animal Collective performs at the House of Blues. PHOTO: BILL HUGHES

Block Party Extravaganza

Sept. 22, The Dillinger

I wondered just how the citizens of Boulder City would take to having their small town infiltrated by hipsters. As it turned out, all but two of them welcomed the Vegas indie rock constituency at The Dillinger’s first anniversary block party, held Sept. 22 in the city’s historic downtown district.

And when Boulder City’s finest received those two noise complaints and subsequently pulled the plug on the live music about a half-hour past curfew, it was their own they were silencing: hometown quartet Dude City, just one song into its set.

That was the only noteworthy hiccup in an otherwise successful event for The Dillinger, a popular area bar and eatery that draws music fans from outside Boulder City due to its regular booking of Vegas-area bands such as Rusty Maples and Dusty Sunshine. The former band performed on Saturday, as did cowpunk act The Clydesdale, indie sextet A Crowd of Small Adventures and acoustic Americana duo The All-Togethers (which made some onlookers spit out their PBR with its Prohibition-era take on Lady Gaga’s “Paparazzi”).

Two other bands represented Boulder City besides Dude City. Same Sex Mary, featuring three-fourths of Dude City and Las Vegas bassist Jason Aragon (putting his estimated band-membership count somewhere north of 50), let loose with its juke-joint rock, including a Bo Diddley cover. The Junkyard Dogs provided a nostalgia trip to another era: The 1970s and early 1980s, when its meat-and-potatoes rock ruled FM radio. This was the band’s first performance in 17 years, and it was given a hero’s welcome.

The Beauty Bar constituency mostly retreated indoors for that one. Otherwise, those who came over the hill eagerly blended with those who likely walked over from their homes. Good music, beer and BBQ: These are things both Boulder City and the cool kids can agree on.

Animal Collective

Sept. 25 at House of Blues

Even if the crowd was a little thinner than the last time, it looked no less lively. And why should it? Even as Animal Collective further warps its kaleidoscopic songs and subverts compositional modalities, exuberance remains a constant in its exploratory but never wayward psych-pop. Credit part of that energy to the band’s percussive hypnosis, indie rock’s answer to big-beat electronica. If this were 1997, Animal Collective would be playing raves.

The 100-minute show focused mostly on the recently released Centipede Hz, a cantankerous departure from its more celebratory predecessor, Meriweather Post Pavillion. Highlighting that agitation was singer Avey Tare, who put a deliciously feral edge on freak-out single “Today’s Supernatural” and aggressively stewarded “Applesauce” through its climactic stomp and immersive synth reverie.

But the band’s childlike charm surfaced often. “Moonjock” saw Tare propelled by furious 4/4 beats and swirling keyboard melodies. And during the tribal, Asian-flavored closer “Amanita” — its whimsy highlighted by projected imagery reminiscent of the classic Silly Symphonies cartoon “The Skeleton Dance” — the singer once again found his inner child: “What art thou gonna do?/Go into the forest/Until I can’t remember my name/I’m gonna come back and things will be different/I’m gonna bring back some stories and games.” One hopes Tare and crew keep returning to that forest — and Las Vegas. MIKE PREVATT