Enticed by their much-loved Veckatimest album from 2009, and the chance to see the band in the stunning surrounds of The Albert Hall (albeit, Nottingham’s version) I went to see if they had blown off the cobwebs and could deliver on the live stage…
Date: August 29, 2012
Venue: Albert Hall
In 2009, Grizzly Bear clawed their way (pun intended) out of the secluded yet comfortable niche they’d established and roared (sorry) into the spotlight with their third album, Veckatimist.
Radiohead guitarist Jonny Greenwood had announced them as his favourite band, and what followed was a wave of adulation as the album entered a much wider niche and captured new fans.
Since then, though, nada. Instead of capitalising on this NME-propelled surge of fandom, the band relaxed into comfortable mode once again and all was quiet. Until now.
This gig, only their second after a two-year hiatus, at the decadent Albert Hall, is their re-animation; the start of a hugely anticipated new chapter.
New album Shields is ready to launch, and, on the evidence displayed tonight, is a heavier, livelier beast to its often brilliant, occasionally subdied predecessor.
Sleeping Ute is a squall of crashing cymbals and jangly melodrama, like Wild Beasts pawing at The Black Keys, while its cohort, Yet Again, is Hot Chip stripped of their electronic devices and LDN geekery.
Their sharp Brooklyn cool wafts through the room; psych-folk and lo-fi rock combine to compose a dazzlingly disorientating art.
At times they’re subtle and bewitching, and hauntingly enchanting. Elsewhere they reveal an expansion of thier heavier sound. They unravel extra layers of noise, and their rich shared harmonies suit the venue perfectly.
They asked the crowd to arise from their seats, but such is the beguiling vibe, no one needed asking to get on their feet.