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Animal Collective primed for Chicago return

Animal Collective is town for sold-out show Riv.

Animal Collective is in town for a sold-out show at the Riv.

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♦ 7:30 p.m. March 16

♦ The Riviera, 4746 N. Racine

♦ Sold Out

Animal Collective didn’t stop in Chicago on their most recent tour in late 2012.

The 2011 Pitchfork Festival headliner had to forego a stop here in support of their latest album, “Centipede Hz,” released last September on Domino.

It wasn’t out of laziness or lack of interest in the Windy City; the band just wanted to take a break to see their loved ones.

“It’s something we’re sensitive to and we know doesn’t make our fans happy but unfortunately it’s reality and part of our lives being touring musicians for a living,” said the band’s Brian Weitz, also known as Geologist. “We’ve been doing this for a long time and we know our restraints, we have to be home with our families so tours take a little longer.”

The strikingly eclectic four-piece Baltimore neo-psychedelic, avant-garde group returns with an all-ages show at the Riviera on March 16.

To take in an Animal Collective song is to experience a wide variety of influences and instrumentation, producing a sound that is both soothing and startling. Band members Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Avey Tare (David Portner) and Deakin (Josh Dibb), along with Geologist, constantly keep the listener guessing where the music will go next.

To be sure, the band’s live show — complete with inflatable structures and live projection — aims to make that experience somewhat physical in nature.

To house the performance, the Riviera, with its 2,300 or so seats, was a perfect fit.

“For what we’re trying to do, it’s a big show,” said Geologist. “It makes me happy that everyone who wants to get in can and we can have that energy exchange with them.”

Their performances have garnered increasingly larger crowds since the 2009 release of their eighth studio album, “Merriweather Post Pavilion,” which scored a hard-earned 9.6 out of 10 score from Pitchfork, and was rated the best album of the year by SPIN.

Joining the collective on tour is Dan Deacon (whose last gig here was at Lincoln Hall in November). Animal Collective sees the lineup as something of a throwback co-headlining show.

“We always take an act on tour with us that we are really excited about,” said Geologist. “You look at posters from the sixties and it would be The Grateful Dead and Janis Joplin on the same bill. We’re more about that type of show, where we know everyone on the bill and can be really excited about it.”

Turns out the band is excited about returning to Chicago.

“Chicago, in the whole world, is definitely one of our biggest audiences that is certainly passionate. And to have fans like that, it definitely feels good to get back,” said Geologist.

Jake Krzeczowski is a local free-lance writer.

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