CONCERT REVIEW: The Pet Sounds Of Brooklyn

[Photos by TIFFANY YOON]

SiameseTwinDiagram_1.jpgBY DIANCA POTTS AND KYLEE MESSNER Last night’s sold out performance by Brooklyn’s Grizzly Bear — the It Band of the moment — opened with a set full of ethereal indie rock compliments of opening act (and fellow New Yorkers) Here We Go Magic. Spearheaded by front man Luke Temple, Here We Go Magic’s performance flowed over the calm and composed crowd like a balm, sounding like a revamped resurrection of the Shins circa ’01 and a tamer Animal Collective with a side of forlorn folk. Describing their own sound as “a lovely ruckus,” Here We Go Magic’s mesmerizing set of songs originated mostly from their self-titled debut.

After clearing the stage, the anxious crowd waited for the Brooklyn-based headliners, to take the stage. The band opened with their latest full length Veckatimest’s first track, “Southern Point,” followed by the swirling retro soundscapes of “Cheerleader.” A ricochet of guitars coupled with Daniel Rossen’s eerie melodic vocals meshed with his fellow band mates harmonies as Yellow House’s “Little Brother” spilled into the air. Followed by the band’s lyrical claim to fame, the often covered single “Knife” was well worth the admission fee. Swirling with an aura of mellow psychedelics, “Knife” proved to be hypnotic and comfortably numbing. “Fine For Now,” recently released on Veckatimest, was an urgent reminder that “there is time, so much time” amidst crashing cymbals and wailing guitar. A nearly perfect soundtrack to summer, the first half of Grizzly Bear’s set progressed alongside applause and open expressions of awe from members of the audience.

Much to the audience’s delight, lead singer Ed Droste announced a special guest would be joining alongside the band, as Beach House’s Victoria Legrand took the stage for a lovely version of “Two Weeks.” Then came a cover of “He Hit Me and It Felt like A Kiss,” one of the touchstone recordings of homicidal uber-producer Phil Spector. The crowd, composed of bearded men and girls in their summer clothes, began to sway, with all eyes fixated on Legrand and Droste, as they began to trade harmonies and amateur dance moves.  Still, the pair was focused on keeping the cover’s slow rhythm intact.

“How about that,” Droste pondered at the song’ end, “She’s something.” Wasting no time with useless chatter, the band moved right along to “Fix It,” a track from their debut album Horn of Plenty.  Though brief, Droste put his keys to the test, sending a series of electronic vibes across the room.  The crowd’s clapping hands were as essential as Droste’s crooning harmonies, leaving the bass and drums to carry the rest of the song.

The spotlight returned to Rossen on “While You Wait for Others,” another somber melody from, Veckatimest.  The crowd sang along, thankful the band had answered another one of their requests that evening.  Complete with choral backing, the song leaves listeners silent, as if to pay respect toRossen during his four minutes of story telling.

In perhaps the most eventful moment of the evening, the band closed out their set with “On a Neck, On a Spit,” — a blissed-out medley of looped tone colors, pregnant pauses, and crashing cymbals — spurring the crowd to move their feet in a more lively manner. Unwilling to let the night end, the crowd simply chanted, “More!”  It wasn’t long before the band answered their request and closed out the night with “Colorado,” which brimmed with the sunbeam harmonies of a Sunday church choir, complete with flute solo by multi-talented bassist Chris Taylor. All told, Grizzly Bear’s glorious performance proved that Brian Wilson’s tradition of penning teenage symphonies to God is in good hands.

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