By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published May 18, 2009 at 11:16 AM

Baltimore's Animal Collective is one of the hotter bands of the moment, which explains why the band's Tuesday night show in Milwaukee was moved from the Pabst Theater to the more spacious Riverside.

Does "hot" equal "good?"

Depends on whom you ask. Many people who listened to the band's January release "Merriweather Post Pavilion," were ready to proclaim it as the best album of 2009. As is often the case, others dismissed it as an overhyped pile of hooey.

Before aligning themselves with either camp, new listeners must first sort out a few questions (we advise bringing a sandwich, because the exercise can be mind-bendingly long):

What the hell is this?

What does it remind me of?

Do I like it?

Do I hate it?

The band likely isn't going to help you in the quest for answers, because prompting these questions (and others) seems to be part of its mission statement. Currently operating as a trio, Animal Collective features Dave Portner (aka Avey Tare), Lennox (aka Panda Bear) and Brian Weitz (aka Geologist). The group creates layered, electronic music that uses effects, mixers, samplers and vocal interplay that prompts descriptions like this one, from the St. Petersburg Times:

"Cross Radiohead, the psychedelic sunshine trippery of Brian Wilson and a bank of Vegas slot machines."

Tickets for the all-ages, non-smoking show on Tuesday are general admission and cost $20.

Continuing a trippy theme, Secret Chiefs 3 will play a gig at 8 p.m. Friday at Turner Hall Ballroom. Pitchfork's Jonathan Zwickel describes "Book of Horizons" as the group's "most expansive and coherent statement, an alchemical fusion of Morricone-esque cinematic grandeur, midnight surf guitar, traditional Middle Eastern rhythms and time signatures, demonic death metal, and electronic deviance that yields a work of undeniable force." Tickets are $12.

Also on tap this week:

The Admirals' season ended last week, but if you go check out legendary comedian Don Rickles on Tuesday night at Northern Lights Theater, maybe he'll call you a hockey puck. Tickets to see "Mr. Warmth" cost $40 to $50.

Taking Back Sunday, which replaced departed singer/guitarist Fred Mascherino with Matt Fazzi, visits The Rave Eagles Club Wednesday night with Anberlin and Envy On The Coast. Look for Taking Back Sunday to play some songs from the upcoming disc "New Again," which drops June 2.

Blues singer Shemekia Copeland, the daughter of blues guitarist and singer Johnny Copeland, performs a free show Thursday night at Potawatomi's Northern Lights Theater.

North Carolina rockers Toubab Krewe visit the Miramar Theatre, 2844 N. Oakland Ave., Wednesday night along with Chalice In The Palace and Corduroy.

People joke about Animal Collective having the most mellow mosh pit in music today. That title this week may belong to Dutch violinist and conductor Andre Rieu, who returns to the Milwaukee Theatre on Friday along with the Johann Strauss Orchestra.

Milwaukee songstress Carmen Nickerson entertains Wednesday night at Piano Blu, 179 W. Wisconsin Ave.

Local heroes Decibully rock the Cactus Club, 2496 S. Wentworth Ave., on Friday night. Revision Text opens the 10 p.m. show.

Reggae veterans King Solomon will warm things up with a show Saturday night at the Up & Under, 1216 E. Brady St.

Shank Hall takes on a bit of a local flavor this weekend. Friday's lineup features The Color Truth, Rehyn, the Katie Todd Band and Doug Shea from Spirit Creek. Saturday brings a bill with Charleston Wade, John Petty and Taylor Bastian.

Hailing from Southport, England, Gomez has a strong local following and is touring behind the new album "A New Tide." The band visits the Pabst Theater on Sunday night.

Here is a look at Animal Collective performing on "The Late Show with David Letterman: