This past Wednesday, December 13, I had the pleasure of catching a sold-out Grizzly Bear show at the Wiltern theater in Koreatown. By the time I arrived around 7:30, the GA bottom floor of the theater was filling up at the pit, so I spotted an opportunity to secure a prime viewing spot on the third riser level, which I quickly grabbed before the opening act started.
Opening act Serpent With Feet was a bit of a wild card. The solo electro-poetry act engaged the audience with word play, reality checks and kindness. “Leave softer than we came,” was his challenge to the audience, along with his love for “adult playtime.”
But the audience was ready to be blown away by Grizzly Bear at they took the stage around 9:15 or so. They opened with new songs from Painted Ruins, but played a pretty well-rounded set, hitting on epic tracks from Shields and Veckatimest like “Yet Again,” “Ready, Able” and “Knife.” And while there were plenty of soft, beautiful moments throughout the set, there were a few noteworthy headbangers that had the crowd really soaking in the intensity of the song. “I see you’re swaying vigorously…I know it’s hard to dance to our music,” frontman Ed Droste joked.
Hearing all the lush harmonies on songs like “While You Wait For The Others” with each Grizzly Bear member singing was truly a sound to behold, and multi-instrumentalist Chris Taylor’s high background singing in “Knife” was awe-inspiring. It’s clear these guys have been performing together for a while because even in the more abstract rhythms, they locked into the songs with comfort and ease.
Droste shared an anecdote about when Grizzly Bear first started performing, sharing that they got their start by “pissing off UCLA students” during an intimate but loud performance in the UCLA dining hall, which had the crowd laughing in response.
But perhaps the highlight of the set was the very last song of their encore, the epic seven-minute-long “Sun In Your Eyes,” which started with a beautiful piano and vocal from Daniel Rossen, and rolled out into a sonically and visually blinding headbanger. I sang the song to myself on the way back to my car, grateful for the experience to see Grizzly Bear perform live and reminiscing my early college years in which I truly got to know them. This is one of the greatest bands of all time, and I’m so thankful they’re still making music.
- Losing All Sense
- Yet Again
- Fine For Now
- Ready, Able
- Four Cypresses
- Mourning Sound
- Sleeping Ute
- Two Weeks
- On a Neck, On a Spit
- Three Rings
- While You Wait For The Others
- Sun In Your Eyes