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The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Grizzly Bear wows audiences with indie pop harmonies

By Hank Hanson

September 30, indie pop favorites Grizzly Bear brought their warm melodies to First Avenue. The modest venue was overflowing with both hip younger fans and artistic older couples in casual dresses and sport coats. First Ave was full to bursting, filled with the buzz of anxious anticipation.The band’s most recent album, “Veckatimest,” from which the band played a number of tracks, has been met with significant critical acclaim since its May 26 release on Warp Records. The band recently appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman, and “Twilight” author Stephanie Meyer praised them on her blog. Although this mainstream recognition would be enough to turn off many independent music fans, Grizzly Bear’s fan base remains loyal to their pleasant and stimulating music.

Glass mason jars hung from strings hanging over the stage, and the band’s instruments included guitars, bass, drums, flute, saxophone, keyboard, and assorted trinket-like percussion instruments. During live performances, Grizzly Bear strives to focus attention on their music, not superfluous performance aesthetics like dancing or light shows.

Along with numerous selections from “Veckatimest,” Grizzly Bear appealed to their long-term fans by playing selections from their second full-length release, “Yellow House.” Although “Yellow House” is musically more subtle and abstract than “Veckatimest,” its songs still feature the same intricate melodies, off-kilter harmonies and hauntingly pure tones that have drawn new admirers to the band’s most recent album. As a result, the songs played that night pleased fans in attendance. When the band branched out into a spastic, loose interpretation of one of their earlier songs during the encore, the crowd seemed to react positively.

First Ave enhanced Grizzly Bear’s sound. The notes played by the guitars were at times both sharp and calm, crisp and clear. Grizzly Bear’s music relies heavily on polyphony and concise harmonizing.

I was originally introduced to Grizzly Bear via “Yellow House,” and I was inclined to revisit the album as soon as I left the show. While I appreciate “Veckatimest”‘s enticing harmonies and pop beats, I am more tempted by the depth of “Yellow House.” As I exited the performance into the brisk Minneapolis night, I couldn’t help but wonder what the future will hold for such an accessible yet complex band.

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