Kyle Betlach

Grizzly Bear @ First Ave

Psych-folk indie rockers, Grizzly Bear, graced the First Ave. stage this Wednesday evening, toting dream poppers, Beach House, along to open the night.

Beach House, consisting of Victoria Legrand on lead vocals and organ and Alex Scally on backing vocals and guitar, swooned their way on stage to begin the night…and did little else. To be blunt; it was boring. Song after song followed the same formula: an electronic beat kick off, followed by the same dreamy guitar line and an overbearing organ. Vocals were hard to discern, to say the least.

Now, I’ve heard very little of Beach House on record, and their self titled debut is alleged to be fantastic, so prove me wrong on these guys. But come on. Their boring, cookie-cutter dream pop tunes were only interspersed with awkward banter between songs. I couldn’t tell what was worse, their social skills or music. Everything tended to blend together as Legrand spewed out her Mazzy Star-era Hope Sandoval knock off vocals.

Now for the real show. Grizzly Bear rocked it. There’s no other way to put it. As individuals, these guys are all incredible at what they do. Edward Droste’s haunting vocals on top of Chris Taylor’s thumping but melodic bass lines sync in perfectly with Daniel Rossen’s reverb filled guitar chords and Chris Bear’s innovative drumming. These grizzly boys stormed the stage and opened with “Southern Point,” the first track from this year’s excellent “Veckatimest.”

The entire set was simply ethereal. Stage lighting was spot on, providing the band with a mysterious atmosphere that matched their bizarre music to a tee. The set alternated between old slow favorites like “Lullabye” and “Knife” from their 2006 debut, Yellow House, to “Veckatimest” scorchers like “I Live with You” and “Fine for Now.” Between wanting to thrash during the last frantic minutes of their electric version of “Little Brother” and wanting to cry during the heartfelt “Foreground,” it’s safe to say Grizzly Bear had me fully engaged the whole night.

Kyle Betlach
kbetlach01@hamline.edu

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