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Monday, June 25, 2007

Feist and Grizzly Bear @ The Moore

posted by on June 25 at 12:49 PM


It took me several listens to really appreciate Grizzly Bear’s latest release, Yellow House. Eventually, it was all about the context of how I was listening to the album. It’s slow, moody and atmospheric, and when I eventually listened to it without distractions I could finally hear what they were getting at. The Moore was a perfect venue for them to showcase their talent, as the seating and lack of bar in the room allowed for total quiet, something Grizzly Bear used to their advantage. I saw them at Sasquatch! last month and was very impressed, but the intricacies of their music can only fully be realized in a silent room. Their sound is soaked in reverb and there’s never a sharp edge – everything is smooth and gentle. Even when they build to rocking climaxes they manage to completely avoid the abrasive.

Most impressive though were their vocal harmonies, which were at the forefront of every song they played. As far as I could tell none of them hit an off note the entire show, which is pretty impressive considering how many times they harmonized with each other. This band is incredibly good at what they do, and they were thankful to the crowd for listening so diligently and respectfully.


Feist was equally brilliant, with a four-piece band filling out her songs the way they were recorded on her albums. I didn’t realize how good she is at guitar before I saw her perform, but Feist can rock an electric as easily as she can soothingly strum an acoustic. Her set alternated evenly between upbeat songs like “1,2,3,4” and “I Feel It All,” and slower ballads like “The Park.” Her backing band was solid, and added nice touches, like using a trumpet to mimic the sound of the ocean after a line about the sea in “The Water.” Before the obligatory encore break they played “Mushaboom,” the song that initially got me interested in Feist, which the band sped up faster than on the album and added a nice trumpet solo on the end.

For the encore they had a jam out session on “Sea Lion Woman,” with Feist making her own vocal harmonies through a loop pedal. They closed with “Let It Die,” lights dimmed and the mirror ball sparkling everyone in the crowd. It felt like the last slow dance at Prom, although if Feist would have played my Prom I would have had a much better time.

There is something timeless about Feist’s music, something that is easily relatable across generations. I saw several forty and fifty-somethings in the crowd, all eagerly awaiting Feist like those of us in our twenties, and it never seemed odd that they would enjoy these songs for the same reasons we do. In fact, I found myself thinking during both Feist and Grizzly Bear, “My mom would probably really like this.” I like to think that’s not due to me liking antiquated music, but to these artists writing undeniably good songs.

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Two disappointments for me were the weak rendition of "I Feel It All" and the absence of my 2nd favorite off that album, "Past In Present." With so few upbeat tracks, you'd think there would be room in the set for that one.

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