Jan 12, 2010

Grizzly Bear @ City Recital Hall

It was somewhere between Fore and Ground that I realised that this night was magic. As Ed Droste majestically intonated those words, I knew that this night was special. Unique. Incredible. Unforgettable. Forgive the hyperbole, but Grizzly Bear were just that good. I saw them directly after the perfection that was Neko Case, but somehow they were even better. Certainly a different experience, but they filled the City Recital Hall with sounds that will live long and lovingly in my memory. For. Ever.

If you release an album as glorious as "Veckatimest", then the attendant hype will come. But Grizzly Bear surpass the hype. The buzz. They are, quite simply a band of four men who are at the peak of their powers. Playing with a robust confidence that comes with the singular welding of talent and dedication. Playing with texture and subtle nuances that breathe life to each and every song. Monday night would have also represented an opportunity to just give us "Veckatimest" front to back. The audience would have lapped it up no doubt, but the band gave us the happy present of a good chunk of "Yellow House". Which I, as well as many others, lapped up with great fervour. So much greatness was on display on this night, but it was the presentation of "Lullabye" that gave me the first chills. This seminal song was stark and chilling and it segued into the eternally beautiful "Service Bell", which was sublime and about a hundred other flavours. If that wasn't enough it then segued into the stuttering beauty that is "Knife". Honestly I could have walked out then and felt totally satisfied. But there was more, much more. "Fine For Now" followed and was thunderous and raucous. Yes, these Brooklyn boys are not just softly spoken troubadours. They can play loud and fast too. "Two Weeks" came with Daniel Rossen switching to keyboards for that song's signature moment. I could go on and on. "Colorado" was stealthy and bursting with atmosphere. "Deep Blue Sea" (from Dark Was The Night) was gentle and soothing, whilst "Ready, Able" was muscular and dynamic. Another segue was coming next though. "I Live With You" was slow building and hard hitting and it melted into "Foreground" where Droste serenaded us with a voice as big as a house and as pure as snow. But there was more. "While You Wait For The Others" was a waterfall of harmonies, a stunning rendition. As it came to a close trees of light bulbs behind the band kept sync with the vocals. Oh, did I mention the lighting? As good as I have seen. Full of atmosphere and perfectly designed to give the right balance to the music. Which was sublime of course. Why? Well it is the intuitive drumming of Chris Bear, the superb instrumental effects of Chris Taylor, the voices of Droste and Rossen and one other thing above all I believe. Daniel Rossen's guitar. It sounds like no other, clear as a bell, piercing the night with strident chords. All of these factors add up to give us the unique beast that is Grizzly Bear. Oh, what's that. The encore? Well, it wasn't much. Just Rossen on guitar and Bear on drums, everyone on vocals as they serenaded us with "All We Ask" in mist shrouded light. That's all. I was near to tears.

Set List
Southern Point
Cheerleader
Lullabye>Service Bell>Knife
Fine For Now
Two Weeks
Colorado
Deep Blue Sea
Ready, Able
I Live With You>Foreground
While You Wait For The Others
On A Neck, On A Spit

All We Ask

3 Comments:

  • At January 12, 2010 , Anonymous jess said...

    They were so much better live than I'd expected and the encore was divine!

    Btw, it was nice meeting you last night!

     
  • At January 13, 2010 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Nice to meet you too Jess. Also Jenn as well!

     
  • At January 18, 2010 , Anonymous Roshan said...

    I did the Neko/Grizzly double on Monday night too!

    Loved your review. I was totally amazed by their voices. The venue and lighting totally suited this show, utterly perfect!

     

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