GRIZZLY HUNTING IN FARGO
This past weekend my wife and I along with a couple of friends packed into a car and headed down to the wonderful metropolis that is Fargo ND. After spending time checking out the Sheels department store (which has a both a ferris wheel AND a shooting range), hearing some man talk about his latest Grizzly Bear hunting experience and eating at Grandma's Bar and Grill (which felt like one of those 'American' restaurants that you can go to in Asia or Europe), we took in the Grizzly Bear and TV on the Radio show.
If I could choose one word to describe this it would have to be surreal. I mean why the hell did two bands who have released two of the best records of the year end up in Fargo? We walked into the venue, which seemed way to swank for Fargo, just as Grizzly Bear began playing. Their first reaction upon seeing the crowd was probably something along the lines of 'what the? How come there's only 50 people here?' The crowd was quite small and about half of it was fellow Peggers. But really, should we have expected anything else? Not to slight Fargo, but does it really seem like a indie hot-spot?
Inspite of this Grizzly Bear managed to put on a mesmerizing show consisting of interesting renditions of stuff from 2004's Horn of Plenty along with a good selection of material from this years Yellow House. Their set suited the small crowd well as they were able to instantly create a intimate bond simply through their stunning harmonies and captivating and upredictable song structures. The highlight of which was their epic Lullabye which both lulls you to sleep and forces you up at the same time. Of all the Yellow House material this was the one song that translated best into a live setting, with nice vocal interplay between all members of the band, interesting guitar, and a clarinet played through a pitch shifter to give deep and dark base tones. Through this set Grizzly Bear confirmed that they are actually living up to the hype they are currently receiving.
If Grizzly Bear's set came across as intimate than TV on the Radio's came off as a brutal sonic punishment. I mean this in a positive sense. Their show completly knocked me off my feet as I was struck with pounding guitars, bass that was driven to destroy my inner ear, drums that forced me into a tribal dance, and vocals that gave new meaning to the word 'intense.' In short, this show was awesome in a very different way then the Grizzly Bear show, and yet still seemed consistent with the mood Grizzly Bear had established with their set.
One of my favorite aspects of the TV on the Radio show was their lead singers subversive relationship with the crowd. You got the sense right a way that he felt that it was a bit rediculous that they were currently playing in Fargo ND. He started off by talking about just how 'exquisite' the Arby's he had for supper was, and then continued to thank Fargo throughout the set in a very 'thank you Cleveland' kind of way. Again, I felt this only added to the show as it gave us a common bond as we all tried to figure out why the hell we were here.
So the show was a resounding success and only confirmed the brilliance of both of these bands.