Grizzly Bear & Frightened Rabbit Gig Reviews

I've written a few nice words about Frightened Rabbit and many more unpleasant words about Gomez for the Forge Press.
Pick up a copy of the paper around the union or read the review online here (page eleven).


Grizzly Bear
Manchester Cathedral

Photo courtesy of amchu

After a critically acclaimed show with the London Symphony Orchestra on Halloween, the Brooklyn band appear in their usual four-piece form at Manchester Cathedral but retain a remarkable sense of grandeur.

Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) sets the tone for the evening, the acapella introduction to her set grabbing the crowd's attention in an instant. Tender vocals coupled with a skeletal combination of acoustic guitar and sampled drum loops leave the audience silent, captivated. No mean feat for a support act.

Grizzly Bear transcend the traditional boundaries of indie rock; their sound, even without the backing of the LSO, is orchestral. Each song could be described as a series of movements, each building in momentum to a climax, before a period of calm, and so on. This is especially true of latest single 'While You Wait For The Others', where the effect is utterly compelling. Songs from this year's superb Veckatimest LP form the majority of the set but are interspersed with older material; 'Knife' from 2006's Yellow House proves to be a particular crowd-favourite.

The spectacular setting of Manchester Cathedral only adds to the sense that the audience is witnessing something special. The building's vast ceiling provides surprisingly good acoustics and leaves Droste and Rossen's vocals hanging in the air to intensely powerful effect. The band are surrounded on stage by hanging glass jars, each glowing intermittently as though a single firefly is trapped within [pictured]. At times the choice of venue seems particularly fitting as all four band members contribute to beautiful, almost choral, vocal harmonies throughout the set.

Grizzly Bear's vocal strength is striking - a YouTube video by La Blogotheque [see below] shows the band performing an acapella version of 'Knife' on the streets of Paris. It is perhaps best demonstrated, however, in their encore: a semi-acoustic version of 'All We Ask'. Rossen's guitar and microphone remain plugged in but Droste and Taylor turn away from theirs, opting instead to project their backing vocals into every pocket and corner of the cathedral and leaving the audience with a truly unforgettable experience.

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