They'd come, basically enough, to see what the fuss over the event was about, and what it was like. And, actually, the fact that they'd all pretty much heard the disc before seemed to work out in the event's advantage. This wasn't a kumbaya, sit-and-listen crowd; few in attendance seemed comfortable with the idea of sitting silently and taking in the music.
In fact, it played out more like a happy hour, with Animal Collective serving as the soundtrack as people milled about the space. The music, more than anything, gave everyone a common talking point (and, the fact that they'd heard the disc prior helped, too, as in: "Oooh, this is my favorite song on the disc!").
It was less a listening party and more of an informal book club-like environment. A little boring? Sure. But there was no pressure for excitement. It was a pretty lax crowd.
Overall, I kinda dug it, for what it's worth. Might be cool as a regular event somewhere, with a new disc to be heard every couple of weeks or so. Y'know, just so like-minded music fans can get together and talk about the disc. That's always fun. Who knows if we'll see an event like this in the near future, though. And who knows if 40-50 people would show to listen to a disc that didn't come with some pretty substantial early praise.
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Tough to say. But the free stuff (digital downloads, posters, day-glo Radio UTD ray-bans) didn't hurt this time around. --Pete Freedman