Grizzly Bear @ London Roundhouse


It’s been a three year stint since the inception of Yellow House back in 2006. Grizzly Bear’s prowl has never ceased to falter, with their sublime album release Veckatimist merely confirming why the gaggles of press flock to their quarters. With the backstage co-ordination of Warp Records and Chris Taylor’s engineering, one could presume a notable release to be made in 2009, however most would not have predicted one of the decades cocophonous pop masterpieces. As we traipse through the worn yet familiar footpaths of Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimist, we begin to trace many of the past sentiments that constituted their original swell of sound. Yet we encompass a new and maturer layering of woven choral harmonies amidst ‘While We Wait For The Others’, while a stark synthesis of sharp notation opens up the sunny vagary of ‘Two Weeks’.

Their one-off date announced at the Roundhouse on the 13th of March was inevitably packed. The usual syndicate of varied upstart haircuts were present, yet the London gambit was unorthodox in their pack; as it was clear to see that many of the crowd were hailing from an older more curious generation, seeking out the traces of Grizzly’s circa 69 psychedelia. This varied spectrum of attraction is one of the band’s great charms. They are able to bequest an unimposing elegance by their modest presence on stage, allowing all regions of the crowd to graze in a stationary posture of awe, as they convey their kind smiles through each others multi-instrumentalist facets.

The state of awe became a prominent fixture of my evening, as a stripped down rendition of ‘Colorado’ reverberated from an off beat drum machine amongst a tumult of echoing unison, rendering much of the audiences gaze to be locked under their key. Particular impressions were made by singer/songwriter Ed Droste, whose voice is a bellowing force of composure with strong classical mannerisms. The night concluded with a semi-acoustic rendition of ‘All We Ask’, where the audience mimicked the last phrases of the verse, accompanied by an array of disjointed hand claps. It seemed rather poignant that the last lyrics to be let alone upon our minds were “I can’t get out/Of what I’m into/With you“. It’s safe to say I’m going to be into these guys for a while.