2 Shows in 2 Nights: The Grizz & Chad V.

October 19, 2009

Random thoughts about last week’s Grizzly Bear show at the Vogue:

  • I was feeling lukewarm about this concert during the first few songs; it felt like the mystery in Grizzly Bear’s music had lost some of its allure. That didn’t last. The band kept doing amazing things: singing radiant harmonies, incorporating unique sounds (especially from the guitar of Daniel Rossen and the multiple instruments of Chris Taylor (bass, flute, bass clarinet and sax), and generally cranking up the sonic power. So before long I was back in love.
  • Speaking of sonic power, I think the key difference between the band’s show at the Commodore last May and this one is the latter’s bigger sound. I can easily picture Grizzly Bear delivering that big sound at Thunderbird Stadium someday, just like Radiohead has done twice. It will be interesting to see if the band makes that leap to being an A-list alternative band, and whether their music will change as a result. My guess is they’ll retain their integrity and originality.
  • I often feel old at shows, but I felt very old at the Vogue. It seemed like everyone was twentysomething. In fact I ran into a young woman I know who epitomizes that generation. She was with her boyfriend who looks like a total surfer dude. He complimented me on my Skulls Skates hoodie, but maybe he was secretly thinking, “Who does this old poseur fart think he is, wearing a Skates hoodie?” I hope I’m still going to loud alternative-indie shows when I’m a hearing aid-wearing octogenarian.

Thanks to J for capturing video, at the usual high quality, of Grizzly Bear:

Speaking of youth, the fresh-faced opening band – The Morning Benders – was a pleasant surprise. The Benders’ short but catchy songs and the musicality/stage presence of frontman Chris Chu won me over. I also loved the fact that two Asians are in the group (don’t ask me why – just check the name of this blog). Asian power!

The Morning Benders’ “Waiting For a War”:

I waffled about going to Chad VanGaalen’s concert, happening the night after the Grizz, but I plunked down my cash in the end. I’m glad I did. The Calgarian gave a solid, if not spectacular performance at the Rio Theatre. I love his high-pitched voice (shades of Neil Young), imaginative songwriting and offbeat character. VanGaalen and his band’s impromptu cover of Technotronic’s “Pump Up The Jam” also scored points with me.

There was a lot of talent at the Rio, just based on award nominations and collaborations with award nominees. VanGaalen was a Polaris Music Prize finalist. His keyboard/flautist/backup vocalist Julie Fader is in Great Lake Swimmers, another Polaris finalist. The quirky opener Castlemusic, aka Jennifer Castle from Toronto, has collaborated with F***ed Up, the band that won the Polaris last month and Elliott Brood, yet another finalist. If the music coming from the high-up Rio stage was any indication, the Canadian indie scene is in good hands.

Another vid from J – Chad and band:


One comment

  1. A couple of very fun shows indeed! (and Mike and I will be right beside your hearing-aid wearing, octogenarian self with our walkers, fear not)

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