Grizzly Bear go symphonic @ The Barbican.

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Grizzly Bear‘s classical ambitions have never been a secret. The Brooklyn four-piece has often claimed many of their songs are written with the idea of being played with an orchestra in mind. Last night they had the occasion of putting those ideas into practice, next to the London Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Jim Holmes at London’s Barbican Centre.

After the enormous success of their third album, “Veckatimest”, the band formed by Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen, in collaboration with arranger Nico Muhey – who has also worked with Björk and Antony Hegarty – conquered the audience who packed the famous London venue.

grizzly bear lights

This collaboration gave its first fruits last May, when Muhey worked on a selection of their songs to be performed with the Brooklyn Philharmonic Orchestra. Now it has crossed the Atlantic, giving the orchestral part a bigger role; not only serving as embellishment, but rather expanding the essence of the group’s compositions.

The night began with the excellent support of St. Vincent, the act of former Polyphonic Spree member Annie Clark, offering the peculiar mix of folk, jazzy and indie roots included on her debut album for the 4AD label, “Actor”.

grizzly bear set

Grizzly Bear amply fulfilled the high expectations arised by the project. The intimate and introspective beauty of their songs found a perfect backing, sometimes discreet -like on recent singles “Two Weeks” and “While you wait for the others”- and some others complementing the four member’s vocal harmonies in spectacular manner, as in the recreation of ther celebrated single “Knife”, which recalled Brian Wilson’s sunniest psychedelia; or in their cover of The Crystal’s classic “He Hit Me And It feels like a Kiss”, a timeless example of Phil Spector productions’ trademark wall of sound, turned into a monumental symphonic one.

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(Pictures by Jellybeanz)

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