by Molly Smith
Grizzly Bear are like a rhetorical question: when nothing totally resolves, the listener has to fill in the gap themselves, and even though something seems to be missing, there's beauty to be found in the ambiguity.
As the members approached the back-lit, single-colored, smokey stage at the Ogden Theater in Denver, their silhouettes stayed dark and ominous until they reached the climatic chorus of their first track, “Speak in Rounds” when the lights flashed frantically. The song came to a close and transitioned perfectly into an outro that reminded me of a really good dream – the kind you can't shake the next morning.
In fact, it took about twenty minutes before there was any silence at all, and when there was, the stage turned completely dark, giving us a chance to stop and digest everything that had just
The entire set was fluid, haunting, and effortless. Co-lead vocalist Ed Droste's eyes remained half-open in an unbreakable focus throughout as if he was having his own spiritual experience. Perhaps the best way to describe the performance would be enigmatic – the kind that makes you hold your hands to your face with every rising crescendo and four part harmony.
The well orchestrated lights truly reflected their overall versatility, as they could gradually and slowly reach a climax that broke out in quick and bright flashes, especially during “Sleeping Ute” and “Yet Again”. Creativity reached its peak when they nearly blinded the audience during “Sun In Your Eyes”.
I was disappointed to stand in a spot where I couldn't directly see drummer Christopher Bear, since they are such a percussion-based band. However, their placement on stage made sense: they basically stood in a line with Droste and and co-vocalist Daniel Rossen offset a little forward.
About half of their songs came from the newest album, Shields, but some of the older gems were crowd favorites. “Colorado” obviously won our hearts over, and “Two Weeks” earned the most singalong participation. Clearly, the fan favorite was the indescribably beautiful acoustic version of “All We Ask” during the encore, as Rossen played the guitar solo and Bear and Droste shared a mic for a perfect duet. “Knife” was another wise encore pick.
It had been about six years since they had last paid Denver a visit, making every announcement about their gratefulness to be there that much more special.
Droste threw some humor into the show with a fakeout of a Rihanna cover, but in general, the between-song-banter was kept to a minimum. As expected, the cohesion between all of the vocalists was the highlight, as they almost had a call-and-response type of connection between one another. Rossen's steady and mature voice created a strong foundation, Droste brought every song to its ambient and floating destination, and the woodwinds played by Chris Taylor (who also acts as the band's producer) were also unexpectedly powerful.
Grizzly Bear delivered a performance that was unforgettable for its magical ambiance and eerie virtue.
Opening Band: Regal Degal
- Sleeping Ute
- Yet Again
- A Simple Answer
- Ready Able
- While You Wait for The Others
- What's Wrong
- Half Gate
- Sun in Your Eyes