Los Angeles News
LOS ANGELES—Early in their set on a starless, tranquil night at the Greek Theatre, the New York-based alternative rock band Grizzly Bear stood aligned on the edge of the stage, four men each positioned to transcend normalcy. In front of an eager, but appropriately reserved crowd, the lead singer, Edward Droste picked up an Autoharp. He strummed it blissfully while the drummer, Christopher Bear, drove the song with a xylophone like a passing ice cream truck. Bass player Chris Taylor, crouched near a speaker and colored the song with a flute while Daniel Rossen, lead guitarist, alternated between an organ and his guitar. What came to pass was a kaleidoscope of instruments, disjointed and fighting for position, ultimately coming to an epic crescendo with Droste screaming into the towering trees behind the Greek Theatre crowd. Such is the unique approach to composition that is Grizzly Bear.
In the final show in the United States on their current tour, Droste, Bear, Taylor, and Rossen maneuvered their way through jazzy renditions and ambitious harmonies to enthrall the Los Angeles crowd. Touring on the heels of their recently released album “Shields,” the multi-faceted group used synchronized lights and creative versatility to showcase new tunes such as “Sleeping Ute” and “Yet Again.” The band also appeased the loyal crowd with old favorites like “Two Weeks” and “Foreground,” a brooding tune that portrayed Droste’s precise pitch and desperation as he sang from a dark stage.
Christopher Bear provided constant, commanding drums throughout the performance, showcasing the eccentric grooves and creative rhythms that make the band endearingly unique. His crashes of cymbals were like pops of harsh ocean water slamming against the rocks. He whisked his way around the kit during “Ready, Able,” and then exploded into a collective beat that integrated the band with the crowd as everyone bobbed in unison. Chris Taylor was active throughout the night, his shining moment coming on a song where he looped broken notes from a saxophone to add layering to the trumpet he played seconds later. Daniel Rossen, who shared the lead-singing duties with Droste, sat at his keyboard often, banging out brash notes that were catalysts for many culminating moments.
The band reaches new heights, however, when they work in unison. They serenaded the audience with uplifting harmonies during “Cheerleader” and whistled their way through “Shift” with a tickle of a guitar and soft, tribal drums. On the third song, with the crowd reeling from sheer pleasure, the dark stage was lit with several lanterns lined uniformly across the back of the stage. As the show progressed, they moved up and down individually on strings, creating various illuminating shapes and patterns. Upon the conclusion of the show, the lanterns had shifted so many times one might think they are as malleable as the band’s uncompromising talents.
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