Grizzly Bear Live At Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh With Support Act Beach House 09/03/10

It’s exciting enough when you hear that Brooklyn based folk-rock band ‘Grizzly Bear’ have decided to play Edinburgh despite most remotely successful bands choosing to bypass the city and head straight to Glasgow where the music scene is more thriving, but when you learn that Baltimore dream-pop duo ‘Beach House’ are supporting as well, it’s like a dream come true.

‘Beach House’ who arrived to a very dimly lit stage set the motion for the evening, Victoria Legrand’s long curly hair hung over her keyboard and Alex Scally reclined on a chair, their atmospheric music entrancing the crowd. The combination of coloured lighting and smoke machines with the haunting vocals of Legrand was truly hypnotic. The highlight had to be ‘Norway’ off their latest album ‘Teen Dream’ with its wonky guitar and ethereal vocals and ‘Zebra’ with simple guitar sliding and a sweeping voice building up to an epic chorus complete with keyboards.

On to the main act, the set lit simply by a collection of glowing glass jars, few bands have been so successful in their captivation of the audience’s attention, with songs such as ‘Foreground’ with its modest keyboards from Daniel Rossen and chilling vocals from Edward Droste being simply beautiful, the crowd not daring to make a whimper. Often described as chamber pop, the constant switching of lead vocalists meaning no noticeable frontman and the multitude of instruments played especially from Chris Taylor who flits from bass guitar to flute to clarinet to saxophone is not only extremely impressive but adds an orchestral feel to the music. The only downside to this would have to be the addition of the omnichord played by Droste which (and I may just be ignorant) seemed to merely consist of single chord being played thus defeating the point of it being there and only adding as a spectacle and not to the musical content.

The set was very ‘Veckatimest’ heavy breaking straight away into ‘Southern Point’ and playing numerous songs from the album although they weren’t afraid of delivering older tracks with ‘Colorado’ and ‘Knife’ off ‘Yellow House’ being particularly good.

Perhaps the highlight of the set had to be when Victoria Legrend joined the stage to sing backing vocals on the much loved ‘Two Weeks’ which she appears on the album for as well as taking the lead for ‘Slow Life’ a track that Grizzly Bear produced for the film ‘New Moon’. Other excellent tracks were ‘While You Wait For Others’ where the crowd all seemed to join arms and revel in the happiness of the music and ‘On a Neck On A Spit’ with its phenomenal guitar and hoarse vocals from Rossen.

The encore which consisted of a single acoustic cover of ‘All We Ask’ was the perfect ending to a terrific set, the audience hanging on to every last note building up to a succession of clapping as they really got into the song and giving the band a huge showering of praise as they left the stage.

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