Review: Grizzly Bear + Here We Go Magic @ Pabst Theater (6/8)

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Words by Adam Lovinus * Photos by CJ Foeckler

Preface: The term ‘hipster’ shall be retired from this point forth on anything I write on Fan-belt or elsewhere. If you wanna read about hipsters, check out Carles’ musings at the HRO blog. My attitude is the ‘scene’ goes away once the house lights go down; if you’re still paying attention to what people around you are wearing, maybe you go to concerts for the wrong reasons. But I digress, I want to tell you about this rock show I saw at Pabst Theater on Monday night.

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Before I get into Grizzly Bear’s set, a few words about the openers Here We Go Magic. To be short and brutal, it was too middle-of-the road indie rock to capture my interest for more than a couple minutes at a time. The harmonies were pretty, but the melody lines lacked originality. The musicianship was solid overall, but I found their jam sections a bit stagnant and inert — predictable more than anything. In my notebook, I have it written: “these guys have nothing on Juniper Tar.”

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Grizzly Bear was predictable too – though strictly in the “predictably amazing” sense. It was my maiden voyage to one of their shows, and it stood up to the tremendous expectations I had being a fan of their Yellow House record, and having been driving around with their newly-released Veckatimist album playing at high volumes. “Cheerleader” was an early-set highlight; hearing this song live prompted the realization that GB channels as much Velvet Underground as they do Brian Wilson – floating soaring four-part harmonies over gritty, vintage New York psychedelic. The band then melted into their gleaming ballad “Lullaby” from Yellow House, which featured sinister-looking floor lighting shone against a pitch-black backdrop.

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Grizzly Bear was at their most psychedelic during “Knife,” with the delay-affected vocal harmonies dancing playfully about the high ceilings at the Pabst. Other set highlights included “Two Weeks” and “Deep Blue Sea,” songs that employ two of my favorite instruments – the auto harp and the Fender Rhodes keyboard. I think my favorite thing about Brooklyn bands is that everyone plays at least two instruments. A mind-bending rendition of the Crystals’ “He Hit Me (But it Felt Like a Kiss)” made for a delightful bookend to a very solid performance.

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4 Responses to “Review: Grizzly Bear + Here We Go Magic @ Pabst Theater (6/8)”

  1. Steven Hyden Says:

    I loved the fucking goddamn shit out this show.

  2. wmseryan Says:

    yeah, what Steve said. absolutely amazing!

    (and thanks for the jtar love)

  3. fanbelt Says:

    seriously Ryan, you guys play something kinda similar to what HWGM plays — electric guitar folk w/ multi-part harmonies. Y’all do it better tho 🙂

    I’m surprised I didn’t like them more — I have a Luke Temple record I really enjoy. -adam

  4. wmseryan Says:

    brother Aaron said the same thing about Luke vs HWGM

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