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June 2, 2009

Grizzly Bear - MHOW 05.31.09

via Will Shu

The NYTimes may have hated seeing Grizzly Bear, but I couldn't disagree more with the review. After this past weekend, I've now experienced Grizzly Bear four times, and the guys sound better with each show. Some people are turned off by the band's lack of crowd interaction, and I can understand that. I definitely thought the band looked bored by their own music when I first saw them. Since then, I've been educated by One For The Good Days to watch drummer Chris Bear if I ever need to be entertained. But, I don't go to Grizzly Bear shows to be visually entertained. Over and over, I go back because I simply can't get enough of the absolutely stunning moments that they create, the kind of music that is so beautiful that it breaks your heart every single time.

When Grizzly Bear started with a near-perfect rendition of "Southern Point," one of my favorites off the latest Veckatimest, I knew that their show at Music Hall of Williamsburg would be a special night. In the smallest venue I have ever seen them play, Grizzly Bear seemed at ease, as if they were actually enjoying themselves. That's right, the normally stoic Grizzly Bear members had smiles on their faces. They appeared noticeably more comfortable, and the audience could hear it in the music. I preferred GB without the extra trimmings like Nico Muhly or the ACME String Quartet who were both at the Town Hall show I attended on the previous Friday. Seeing the four members up close, I couldn't help but think how cosmic it is that these people somehow found each other in order to create this music. I don't know how people can find Grizzly Bear to be cold, because I find their music to be extremely transportive in the most emotionally manipulative way. It is rare to find music so powerful that it's able to speak to you on a somewhat subconscious level. Yes, they are very precise musicians, but their consistency is something I look forward to with each concert. In the end, I have to admit that I may have an uncommon reaction to Grizzly Bear's music. When I hear a song like "Little Brother," I can't help but smile like a fool. Maybe particular music elements resonate deeply with me, but I know that I'm a fan for life.

One thing I noticed during the show was how much I enjoyed listening to the older, non-Veckatimest material. It took me quite awhile to wrap my head around Yellow House, but I almost think I like it more than Veckatimest. After carefully listening to an album for an extended period of time, I find the "lightbulb moment" (if it ever occurs) to be such a delightful reward. With Veckatimest's greater immediate accessibility, the epiphany factor is now missing for me. I've now gone back to listening to Yellow House, of which "Easier" is my current favorite. If you've recently become a fan of Grizzly Bear, I suggest that you take the time to go through their earlier discography.

And, don't forget to watch Chris Bear if you find your mind wandering at the next Grizzly Bear show. Click here for past Grizzly Bear coverage.

via Will Shu

Southern Point - Grizzly Bear

Easier - Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear


Joseph on June 3, 2009 at 4:24 PM said...

Caught the 5.28 show. Thought they sounded beautiful. The girls were a nice touch also though only up there for three songs I think.

mimi on June 3, 2009 at 8:09 PM said...

So many people complain that GB is boring live. To that I say, manage your expectations...

canvas art prints on November 9, 2011 at 6:48 AM said...

I'm a fan of them and sucked I haven't caught them live yet!

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