by Josh Bis
on Sun, Oct 7, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Grizzly Bear at the Paramount
The audience at the Paramount was in capable musical paws with Grizzly Bear last night. Backed by a fluther of glowing ghost jellyfish that haunted the back of the stage in various formations, a guest touring multi-instrumentalist, and an array of skittle-colored spotlights, the quartet arranged themselves in an egalitarian line at the front of the stage and played through several "loud/quiet/loud" rotations through their expansive catalog of brainy yet accessible experimental indie neo-psych-folk. The ninetyish minute set proceeded in lather/rinse/repeat waves of Ed Droste and Dan Rossen trading off ethereal barely adorned vocals, to rich layered compositions often layered live by Chris "woodwind enthusiast" Taylor, to more assertive room-filling near-rock propelled by Chris Bear's assured percussion.
The previous sentence grossly oversimplifies the rich production—throughout the evening, all of the band's members contributed vocals and played an array of instruments, in a complex juggling act that sounded incredible under the Paramount's lofty gilded showroom and built to a thoroughly satisfying conclusion featuring legitimate crowd-pleasing hit "Two Weeks" (Veckatimest), slow-burning Shields closer "Sun in Your Eyes", and fuzzed-out wall of sound classic "Knife" (Yellow House). A standing ovation drew the guys back for an encore that ended with the group in the center of the stage harmonizing through "All We Ask" and graciously thanking everyone for spending a Friday night with them. Stray notes:
I wonder whether Chris Taylor knew of the Funhouse's impending demise when he unfondly recounted a long-ago Grizzly Bear show at the "scary place" as a counter-example to their great delight in playing at the Paramount?
Ed Droste's minimalist bouncy dancing throughout the show was both adorable and fascinating.
I bought an awesomely creepy three-eyed cat t-shirt, mainly because Nitsuh Abebe's fantastic feature about the band, the limits of "indie rock royalty", and long-term sustainability of making money and music was still fresh in my mind.