REVIEW: Grizzly Bear without the Scare


Grizzly Bear(s)
Grizzly Bear(s)

Grizzly Bear, a Brooklyn-based indie rock band, was more solitary than one might expect. Just their band name should have you thinking their sound is powerful. But what was powerful, was not their show, but their lighting and following.

 “It seems as though everyone secretly bought tickets to this show,” whispered my roommate. And as I walked toward the Michigan Theater, I saw pairs of emaciated students clasping onto cigarettes, squabbling with other pairs of emaciated cigarette holders. I was pulled in, “did you see Beach House?” (Beach House was the opening band for Grizzly Bear, and is classified as dream-pop, indie rock. Together the duo, uses the guitar, keyboard, organ and vocals to create music.) Having missed the performance, I was told by clamorers and cigarette smoke that they were great.

Anxious not to miss any of Grizzly Bear, I walked into the theater, and climbed into my back balcony seats. Half a song went by before I heard a rumble from my roommate, “the sound is weak; they sound better on my headphones.” I couldn’t argue, she was absolutely right, the sound was better on my headphones (I have good headphones). Unwilling to accept this to be the reality, we got up from our seats to sneak into the front.

One wrong door later and we were outside, schmoozing with a different scene, the set-up crew. Believe it or not, the sound was better from outside. Turned out that the poor sound was not the fault of the Michigan Theater, but instead was the fault of Grizzly Bear, who brought their own sound-guy. A song later, and we heard one of their better known pieces, The Knife, come on. My roommate insisted we go inside, and we re-entered through the main floor. We walked near the front, and leaned against the wall with several like-minded people.

While the music was louder, the performance did not improve. Grizzly Bear did not put on much of a show. Their electronic music made me feel ambivalent, and their individual singing sounded more like their electronic instruments than passionate voices. My favorite parts were when the musicians harmonized, and their voices came together to make more of a godly organ sound. The four performers didn’t transcend from the stage, they stood there almost bashfully strumming/hitting/poking their instrument in a soft, sheltered fashion.

The most successful aspect of the show was the lighting. Behind the Grizzly Bears were lights in glass jars. There were about twelve of these glass jars dangling horizontally behind the Bears. Different lights would go off at different times, and twinkle with the charm of a fire-fly. Then, on the floor of the stage, next to each performer were other lights, neon’s- green, blue and occasionally red. But in addition to all this were bright white lights that came down as rays from the ceiling. The combination of the neon lights on the ground and the beams from above created a very dramatic feeling. Then the jars would go off sporadically, and make the show seem almost surreal.

Conclusion: Interested in lighting go see Grizzly Bear, interested in Grizzly Bear get good headphones.

2 thoughts to “REVIEW: Grizzly Bear without the Scare”

  1. hey Jessica ,i agree on your conclusion that

    “Interested in lighting go see Grizzly Bear, interested in Grizzly Bear get good headphones.”

    =) Keep on posting Jessica

    Owner of Mp4 Movie Review

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