So native New Yorkers Grizzly Bear return to the U.K. shores at Koko in London on August 18th, after a hiatus for a year too many, having pretty much dazzled everyone with their current release Veckatimest, with a one-off whistle-stop visit before the full nine-yards arrives (St. Vincent – QRO spotlight on – and the London Symphonic Orchestra) in November for the U.K. tour proper. Acting as unassuming and bashful as ever when they took to the stage straight into opener “Southern Point” it looked like they were going to let the music do the talking. Which is fine, you know, because with singles like “Two Weeks”, there’s plenty of good things to talk about.
While most have become familiar with the performances (live and TV) of album favourites such as “Cheerleader” and “While You Wait For the Others”, it was the one-two-three punch of “Ready, Able”, “I Live With You” and “Foreground” that really hit hard the depth and quality of the album, the harmonies working to full effect in the acoustics of the theatrical venue.
While the majority of the set drew from their latest release, it was with the Yellow House cuts that they seemed to perform with the greatest vigour. “Little Brother” and “On a Neck, On a Spit” were turned into raucous stomp along runaways, literally vibrating the room with excitement. And for the gentle, buzzing, “Colorado”, Chris Taylor scampered between bass guitar, clarinet, bassoon, flute, imitating sea sounds and performing radio static in an attempt to outdo Radiohead’s (QRO album review) Johnny Greenwood in the playing-as-many-instruments-at-once contest. He then apologized later on after the gorgeous rendition of “Foreground” for having to rent his tenor saxophone for the gig and not using it to the best of the song’s merits (But no, he really didn’t need to).
But that’s the thing that can always be said about the band, just four guys trying the best to perform some darn good music & not try to get themselves in the way too much. As they (again) rather apologetically left the stage after encore-closer “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)”, there was nothing really left to say.
1. Southern Point
4. Little Brother
6. Fine For Now
7. Two Weeks
10. I Live With You
12. While You Wait For the Others
13. On a Neck, On a Spit