Few indie rock acts can boast the acclaim that Grizzly Bear has garnered in its near-decade of existence, and after tonight’s show, it’s easy to hear why. With its sweeping psychedelic indie rock in full effect, the band turned in a stellar set as its debut ACL taping.
Concentrating solely on its most recent records Shields and Veckatimest, the Brooklyn quintet essayed what fan Hallie Sianni on Facebook described as a “great setlist – some of their best.” In the sweeping art rock of “Cheerleader,” “Yet Again” and “Half Gate” and the shuffling psych pop of “Ready Able,” “Sleeping Ute” and “A Simple Answer,” the band showed off a fetching shimmer as much as an ambitious craft. Speaking of ambition, this is not a band to work one groove into the ground – the band was equally as comfortable with the minimalist ballad “Foreground” (featuring bassist Chris Taylor on bass clarinet) and the jaunty piano pop of “Two Weeks” as it was the counterpoint vocal-heavy “While You Wait For Others” and the atmospheric grooves of “What’s Wrong.” Closing the main set with the stunning, Smile-like orchestral epic “Sun in Your Eyes,” Grizzly Bear earned every bit of its critical praise.
“Sun in Your Eyes” was a hard act to follow, but the band did it with an even more enchanting version of “Sleeping Ute” and a surprise (to both us and the crowd): “Knife,” from the group’s breakthrough Yellow House and one of its best-known tunes. Closing out with the lovely acoustic ballad “All We Ask,” Grizzly Bear brought the evening to a close not with a bang, but a wistful sigh. A fine show, and we can’t wait for you to see it in its final form later this year.