Grizzly Bear (31/10/12) + Bon Iver (05/11/12)

by juicyfrog

i can’t remember when indie folk music came to me as an evidence, but do remember the first time i listened to Fleet Foxes. the only thing that actually occurred to me was, ouch, why do they have to sing all together?!

i suppose music is sometimes a patience exercise, for the same reasons as literature. one should never give up, there might be a time when you eventually dive into a book with passion, seizing each words eagerly, apprehending the very substance of the author’s intentions, enjoying the musicality of the writing. getting into a book at the relevant moment isn’t an easy thing. and music is all the same.

so, folk music. well, i guess the frog converted to folk music through a band that isn’t the best genuine representative of the folk era.
ladies and gentlemen, open up your heart and your soul to Grizzly Bear. i admit it may be a nonsense to stick the folk tag onto Grizzly Bear’s back, folk rock would actually be more appropriate. but despite the fact the grizzlies have no beards, they have been gifted by some good fairy with incredible voices. and 2012 has been blessed by one of the greatest albums of the planet.
Shields combines with harmony and perfection gentle and studied melodies, often provided by Daniel Rossen. piano travelling tunes, complex and demanding bass lines, jazzy jolts, and the most delicate voices that could soften the hardest crocodile reluctant to choirs.
especially when Edward Droste’s voice starts singing a melody, closely followed by Daniel Rossen, Chris Taylor and Christopher Bear. their voices in unison are incredibly beautiful and soothing. they pave the route to choral compositions in the most magnificent way possible. but reducing Grizzly Bear’s music to its “simple” vocal part would nevertheless be a mistake, or at least an approximation. because the construction of most of their songs gives evidence of a taste for magical and fairy atmospheres, along with ideal style association (when a folk melody taints with jazzy colours through Chris Taylor’s remarkable saxophone, flute and clarinet notes). whereas Daniel Rossen remains to my eyes the investigator of most of the melodies (even if Grizzly Bear origins Ed Droste’s solo project), Chris Taylor takes care of strengthening them with his outstanding bass or electric guitars compositions.


from left to right: christopher bear, ed droste, daniel rossen and chris taylor.

how puzzled and delighted we are – the dancing toad, the gig frog and i – at discovering the making-of of Grizzly Bear’s songs during their concert on that very night (at Astra).

Speak in Rounds
Sleeping Ute
Yet Again
A Simple Answer
Ready, Able
I Live With You
While You Wait For The Others
What’s Wrong
Two Weeks
Half Gate
Sun In Your Eyes

On A Neck, On A Spit
All We Ask

as we discussed it together afterwards, this was a special experience. as if we were (re)discovering details we hadn’t noticed while listening to Shields.
Chris Taylor jumps from an instrument to another, and is the one responsible for the gooseflesh you may experience when his voice rejoices the others. OMG, this is what we can call pure magnificence. needless to say that the grizzlies are very friendly and amusing, despite some perceptible shyness. what a breathtaking moment. sometimes, the choir may even turn into a tiny opera, how wondrous. i have no idea how one would feel entering paradise, but, for sure, we’re already in heaven.

on this tour, Grizzly Bear have the excellent idea to be supported by Villagers. the young irish band offers a brilliant introduction to the bears, revealing moving texts and delicate melodies. the voice of Conor O’Brien fills us with warm and intense vibrations. this is just marvellous.

it seems that the dancing toad and the juicy frog initiated a cycle of incredible concerts since their first gig together.

a few days after the Grizzly Bear, we have the chance to share an astounding and fantastic instant of overwhelming warmth and intense pleasure. with an exceptional folk musician who started his career, dressing wounds isolated in a winter cabin in Wisconsin. For Emma, Forever Ago, was the first poignant split-up album of Bon Iver, fronted by Justin Vernon.
if recent news announced the possible end of the band, we are tonight more than happy and lucky to spend a little time with them.


i’m very excited to recognize the first notes of Perth. same beginning as at the Helsinki’s Flow Festival this summer. great great introduction. to the very difference that the toad chose (as usual) a perfect panorama location where we have a clear and open view on the stage. i have to confess that if I flew to Flow only to attend the Bon Iver’s concert, i haven’t seen anything of it, nothing at all, not even Justin Vernon himself. but it actually didn’t matter to me, it was just like imagining yourself blind, savouring the most exquisite music.

back to the Arena, i’m a little bit anxious before the beginning of the concert, because i dearly hope the toad will go through the same strong and deep feelings as i did in summer. Bon Iver is a synonym for compelling emotions. the perfect combination of depression, sadness and beauty. not only because the lyrics make sense and are truly meaningful, but also because the music compositions and arrangements are more than brilliant, duplicating and looping piano and guitar notes, echoing superimposed voices, saucing songs with heady and feverish tunes, god it’s so good to be here again. your entire body vibrates and trembles, as if you were in love or happy and sad at the same time. 100% pure emotions and splendour guaranteed.

if you don’t believe me, take 20 minutes of your time to enjoy this:

the concert at the Arena is just perfect. emotions are intense and palpable, desperation is as its most, we’re floating in a paragon of dark heavenliness and love. Justin Vernon’s voice, supported by Sean Carey (drums, piano) and Michael Noyce (guitar, violin) among others, takes sometimes dangerous routes to piercing and penetrating tunes that will make you go deeply into his despair. you’re suddenly part of it and it’s damn good.

the concert is a succession of climaxes, this is amazing. Calgary, Skinny Love, Creature Fear, Holocene and The (almost closing) Wolves to mention only a few examples.

i just don’t know whether this is pure folk (rock) music, and i’m not really sure this is that important. because that kind of music is both moving and delicate, and it’s good to be able to enjoy bands, such as Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, Bon Iver, Midlake.
this very music shows you the road to some promised land where you will, for sure, let yourself go and run into grace.