October has been indeed a particularly busy month for this blog’s writing team with no less than six gigs in twenty days. All sorts of bands (known/less known/old/young) and in very different venues. Let’s start this particular series with one of our Brooklyn favourites: Grizzly Bear at the Brixton Academy on the 9th October 2017.
Playing the Academy means a kind of success for lots of bands or artists as it means they are in a position to reach a quite massive audience…just before the big arena sizes. Grizzly Bear is typically this sort of band. They are quite famous..but not that much and are successful in keeping their indie rock credibility. There is a huge chance for almost everyone to be familiar with their 2009 tune “Two Weeks” as it has been quite used in ads or tv series. However, I am pretty sure that the general audience does not really know their overall discography. The latter has been very consistent with five LP’s and two EP’s and one really feels that the group is constantly improving towards beautiful and simple music, while retaining a certain strangeness to it. Their latest LP “Painted Ruins” was one of our best albums of the month in August 2017 and I must say I discover new subtleties every time I listen to it.
I felt the same way while catching them live, my personal second time after the 2012 Pitchfork Festival in Paris. These guys will definitely never be rock stars (…whatever it means) as their attitude, the way they dress and how they perform on stage do not create mayhem or an immediate need to stage-dive! However, if what you want from a band is craftsmanship, beauty and amazing voices, they are the ones for you. They all are tremendously gifted musicians (often swapping instruments) but their talent is very much used for the song and not the other way round (like alt-J for instance). Despite a few slightly boring moments here and there, I must say enjoying it overall a lot and being quite moved by the beauty of a few songs. The perfect band to catch if you are in the right mood.
Stay tuned for Part Two with Chad VanGaalen, coming next!