Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Grizzly Bear Live @ The Fillmore 6/22/09

[finally got this up]

I’m really having trouble finding the words to translate this experience. It simply left me awestruck. First, I guess I should say it was definitely worth the $30 spent, and that if you have a chance to see these guys, go. You won’t be disappointed.

After a nice opening set from fellow Brooklynites Here We Go Magic, the guys filed out and assumed their respective posts- arranging themselves laterally instead of the diamond configuration of a standard four-piece. Although The Fillmore was sold out, it was not so crowded as to be uncomfortable.

The show got underway with Southern Point from the new album. And by the refrain of “in the end…” I knew I was witnessing something exceptional. Ed Droste’s bewitching croon sliced through the atmosphere as the the stage exploded in a burst of resonant sound, flashing light and color. The dark psy-folk of Lullaby came next followed by the Wilsonian harmonizing of gently meandering Cheerleader. Knife was played and, as expected, was great. Central & remote, About Face and Fine for Now all hit the mark. Colorado and Reprise were amazingly intense live; both sublimely meditative moments.

The shuffling Ready Able with it’s distorted guitars; jagged, icy synths and hauntingly exquisite harmonies was definitely a highlight. Ditto Two Weeks, which I knew was coming as soon as Daniel Rosen discarded his guitar and sat down at the Whurlitzer.

I Live With You was a mezzanine of sorts, a lull in energy where the spell was broken only briefly by a fan who let out the best rebel yell I’ve heard since I left North Carolina. This then immediately transitioned into While you wait for the others; which happened to be the emotional apex (well for me at least) of the night.

Throughout, mood was deftly altered in a novel manner- tension built and released not through rising and falling of tempo, but through an unbelievably dynamic dynamic-range; we’re talking symphonic caliber. From the nadir of a single voice (Droste and Rosen traded vocal duties equally, backed by bassist Chris Taylor and drummer Christopher Bear) or acoustic guitar the amplitude would swell crystallizing into shuffling rhythms and four-part harmonies. Rising to at times to cacophonous crescendos of layered guitar and synths, flailing toms and crashing cymbals.

For the encore, we were graced with an acoustic version of All We Ask in which the guys crowded around one microphone old school quartet style.

Pretty much the perfect night. The only other thing I could have asked for was to hear Plans. Ah well, maybe next time.


If you’ve not already got it, be sure to nab the new record Veckatimest, out now on Warp. If you’ve read the reviews but are skeptical of all the unctuously gushing adoration- yeah, it actually is that good. Named for a small island off of Cape Cod, the album is an opus of jangly guitars, wandering rhythms, and jaw-dropping harmonies so painstakingly crafted that would make Brian Wilson blush.

'Tis truly a beautiful record.



No comments: