November 4, 2017

Grizzly Bear played Brooklyn Steel

After releasing their first new album in five years, this summer's Painted Ruins, Grizzly Bear came back to their native New York for three sold-out nights at Brooklyn Steel.

The indie-rock landscape has seen a rather dramatic shift in the time since Grizzly Bear released their last album, 2012's Shields. Orchestral, chamber-pop comprised of stunning harmonies no longer stands at the forefront, but that hasn't stopped Grizzly Bear from continuing along their remarkable journey of making captivating baroque-pop. Their latest record doesn't necessarily match their past albums in terms of wonder or pop odyssey, but watching the tracks come alive was a mesmerizing experience nonetheless. On night two of three, the band changed up their set-list a bit and kicked off the night with "Losing All Sense" and "Cut-Out," two new songs that have more shape and presence live than they do on record. As the night progressed and older songs came into the mix, it was a gentle reminder of all the beauty and intricacies this band has to offer and why they seemed so magical in the first place. Dusting off "Lullaby" from Yellow House was a lovely surprise of their subtle, slightly darker past, but still fit in perfectly with their more accessible moments. "Four Cypresses," one of the best from the new record, was bursting of energy and really found the band hitting their stride towards the middle of the set. Neil Young and Crazy Horse have often been known for gathering together in the middle of the stage for eccentric jams and getting so close that is would appear as if the necks of their guitars would snap as they fell deep into a groove. On stage, Grizzly Bear stand in a line, giving everyone equal stage appearance, so while they never get to the Crazy Horse huddle, there comes a moment where each member becomes so enthralled they all haunch over and truly lean-in to their music. It's a powerful moment where they take the song to its climax and surrender to the power of the track and such was the case for the one-two punch of "Sleeping Ute" and "Yet Again," the emotional peaks of the night and saw the band really sharpen their edges and awaken with maximum force. Of course "Two Weeks" saw the biggest reaction from the crowd all night and it's still amazing just how much that song means to so many people nearly a decade later and it really remains a stunning example of their ability to craft beautiful harmonies and make a wondrous pop song. "On a Neck, On a Spit" was another fine throw back that highlighted the band's illustrious past and a time when they steer away from traditional song structures. For the encore, the band dusted off "Colorado" much to the delight of the crowd. "That's an old song and it's kinda long so we don't play it too often" remarked Chris Taylor, "a Friday night special, just for you" claimed Ed Droste before they launched into "While You Wait For the Others" to close out the night. We may be past the days when indie-rock was dominated by bands named for animals and intricate harmonies was the ground breaking mold for which bands aspired to be, but Grizzly Bear showed no signs of aging here and performed with all of their might, proving they still have an important voice in music and one that desperately needs to be heard.

Set list:

01 "Losing All Sense"
02 "Cut-Out"
03 "Lullabye"
04 "Ready, Able"
05 "Mourning Sound"
06 "Four Cypresses"
07 "Half Gate"
08 "Sleeping Ute"
09 "Yet Again"
10 "Fine For Now"
11 "Two Weeks"
12 "On a Neck, On a Spit"
13 "Foreground"
14 "Three Rings"
15 "Sun In Your Eyes"
16 "Colorado"
17 "While You Wait for the Others"

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