Grizzy Bear is the best band in the world at the moment for a few reasons. First, the release of 2009’s Veckatimest is not only a collection of infectious, complex, moody, wide-ranging, crescendo building, symphonic and sheer brilliant tracks, it found its way band on Billboard’s Top 10, with the likes of Hannah Montana and Lady Gaga. WTF! Second, the band overcame a venue that has been widely noted for its poor sound to pull off one of the best performances of this or any year.
Chris Taylor’s musical antics impress me to no end. The multi-instrumentalist plays the gamut of woodwinds along with his bass guitar throughout the show. At several points in the performance, he created a mock orchestra featuring samples recorded live. The effect is overwhelming and makes the band sound like it should be playing Carnegie Hall. Chris Bear’s drumming is still front and center, but he was turned down a bit in the mix compared to June’s show at the Trocadero. Ed Droste’s voice was angelic as usual, and his use of delay effects on his mic added dimension and ambiance. Daniel Rossen’s psychedelic chord progressions and technical mastery were beyond stellar.
Fever Ray may have put on a better “show” last week, but Grizzly Bear is all about the music. There are no pre-recorded tracks here. No ceremonial headdresses. No makeup. No laser light show. No gimmicks. It’s just four virtuoso musicians playing their instruments and songs from this year’s best album.