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  • SXSW 2009 Recap: Day Four

    Mon, 23 Mar 2009 11:44:32

    SXSW 2009 Recap: Day Four - A Grizzly end to the festivities

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    Grizzly Bear @ Central Presbyterian Church

    Grizzly Bear’s new album Veckatimest leaked in February to near-universal acclaim. New fans were won and diehard fans were beyond satisfied. So it’s no surprise that the year’s most anticipated record would have severely shook up SXSW 2009. Grizzly Bear’s show at the church was one of the hardest to get into of the entire week. People with badges or wristbands numbered in the hundreds and many hoping to buy a ticket either gave up or waited hours to get inside. But those who did were lucky enough to attend a show that was well worth the trouble of getting into.

    Until Thursday I’d never heard an audience of 400 make a noise of silent excitement (roughly written out as “…!!!”). It could have been that people sat upright or a few hundred sharply drew in breath, but the opening bass line of Grizzly Bear’s new song “Cheerleader” elicited just such silent excitement from the crowd.

    Grizzly Bear | by Matt Jordan

    Grizzly Bear | by Matt Jordan

    Though the crowd started off reverent but enthusiastic, they eventually ditched the calm bit and really threw themselves into the show. When Dan first hit the keyboard for the opening section of Veckatimest’s first single “Two Weeks,” cheers and a even a few yells broke out. They just as quickly quieted back down for many people’s first chance to hear the new song performed live. “Two Weeks” is a fantastic song to hear live because it gives Ed Droste the room he needs to really sing his heart out. It’s dramatic on the new album, but it gets an extra emotional boost from hearing it live.

    Before completely letting us off the hook, Grizzly Bear trotted out a song that’s been a fan favorite for nearly two years. Their cover of The Crystal’s “He Hit Me” has grown far beyond the Phil Spector-produced original into something that’s now sad, dusty, bruised and alive. Powered by a strong bass line and even stronger vocals, it’s one of those fortunate covers to surpass the original.

    Grizzly Bear | by Matt Jordan

    Grizzly Bear | by Matt Jordan

    After the last note was played and the last “thank you” shared, Grizzly Bear packed up their instruments and went on to their next adventure. The church, for what it’s worth, went from a filled-to-capacity fire hazard to a Friday afternoon ghost town. A couple dozen people stayed behind for whoever the next band was, but I couldn’t tell you because I wasn’t one of them. After a show that good I needed to go back to the hotel and rest.

    Grizzly Bear | by Matt Jordan

    Grizzly Bear | by Matt Jordan

    —Matt Jordan

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