this place is big... and Prince! I mean, Purple Rain!" That was what
the Grizz guitarist in the cardigan said after two songs. The best thing I
overheard in response was, "Everyone in Minnesota is so over that." It would
have been true of a twenty-one plus show, but there were plenty of eighteen
year-olds who are currently discovering the purple export of Minnesota
flipping out and requesting indie rock covers of that Sexy M.F. For some
reason this all stuck in my head, and when TV's singer gave his obligatory
shout, everything gelled as a weird theme in my head.
"We got here and looked at the stage, saw the lights, it's a little different,
but when we saw Prince's star. I'm sorry I'm sure you're sick of hearing it...
" That makes up for it, kind of, but what really cemented the reparations for
the damage of the one millionth Prince reference from a touring band I've
heard was the fact that this was an incredible show.
The greatest thing a five-piece band can do is to sound like a five piece
band, and the sonic wall bombarding the audience was incredible. Members
served a purpose, which was successfully capturing the dramatic and anthemic
nature of their recorded material while keeping it "live." The charisma of the
lead singer — with his dramatic arm movements punctuating lyrics delivered
with the conviction of a devoted believer in the power of music, coupled with
the impressive falsetto backing vocals of the rhythm guitarist — is an
experience that commands a viewer's attention. Between falsettos and freak-out
shouting, there is a comparison to be drawn between his royal Prince-ness,
begging the question of what it would sound like if contemporary indie rock
were substituted for the funk, soul and sex of Purple Rain-era Prince.
As for Grizzly Bear, their opportunity to be the supporting band for such a
strong act should prove very beneficial. To be honest, I was somewhat non-plussed
by the milque-toast delivery of this low-key four piece, but the intellectual
aspect of this hipster-pandering indie group was intriguing enough to make me
want to spend some time with their recorded material. The drums, in
particular, were well orchestrated; they were very laid back, but in each song
they would masterfully build to a decisive crescendo delivered with an
impressive amount of force. At one point during their set, they utilized an
Autoharp and a clarinet, intriguing choices that worked successfully, and
during the last song the drummer retired his sticks and played his kit
TV on the Radio, Grizzly Bear: go, watch, listen, enjoy.
Encore: I am oftentimes in the camp that feels encores are kind of bullshit —
looking at my notes I saw that I had written, "My feet hurt, I have to pee,
and I want another beer." Sorry, but thirty minutes is the ideal amount of
time to watch most any live act; anything more than that, and my experience
can be distracted. But... BUT, every time I like the band and they do an
encore I find myself saying, "Ooh, I love this song!" TV was no exception;
they performed a three-song encore, coming to a dramatic finish when the four
fellows of Grizzly Bear joined them onstage with an array of rhythm and
percussion instruments. The energy of that final song was a masterful way to
end an evening of great music.