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  • Grizzly Bear/Final Fantasy With The Brooklyn Philharmonic @ BAM, Brooklyn 2/28/09 1
Tags: / Credit: Ryan Muir
Grizzly Bear and the Brooklyn Philharmonic

Well, that was wonderful. On Saturday night at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music, Final Fantasy and Grizzly Bear experimented with full sets of material accompanied by the Brooklyn Philharmonic. The results were masterful, obvs. Final Fantasy’s material is inherently symphonic, so the orchestral interpretation was a natural step. For Yellow House, the reinterpretation was more of a leap, although really just as logical: that album’s dynamic and harmonic richness was begging for a night like this.

Last year the Times hailed Owen Pallett as the quintessential figure in the return of the one-man band, so there was a certain poetry in seeing Final Fantasy’s works expanded by the Brooklyn Philharmonic’s sweeping and nimble arrangements on Friday night. Owen sang and sat at piano all night, playing relatively little, not even a violin within reach, self-deprecating about his instrumental-castration while captivating over a nine-song set that hit the high points along his discography (from Has A Good Home to this year’s EPs). Along with Nico Muhly on celeste and the National’s Bryan Devendorf on drums, Owen invited Aaron Dessner to play electric bass on a pair of new tunes (“The End Of Time” and “Tryst With Mephistopheles”). When Dessner stood with his electric bass, Owen occasionally peeling strips of tape from his piano for percussive effect, the high-low nature of these BAM collaborations snapped into focus. Then, and also when the announcer introduced the series as a collaboration between the Philharmonic and “indie-rock ensembles,” which made all the musicians in the crowd chortle.

Grizzly Bear’s set was custom tailored for this one evening with the Philharmonic, revisiting and reinterpreting yet-again a catalog of songs that’s seen revisiting and reinterpretation a few times now, via remix CDs, EPs, and their tendency to transform material on tour. (Some only to be played again if with an orchestra, said Ed.) Nico Muhly handled arrangements for the Grizzly Bear portion, although we’re told they aren’t necessarily indicative of what he contributed to the new LP. Still, there were songs without orchestral accompaniment (“Two Weeks,” “Little Brother,” “While You Wait For The Others,” “Deep Blue Sea,” “He Hit Me,” and “Reprise” with the Dessner brothers on guitar and banjo — they are everywhere); during that time BP conductor Michael Christie made himself busy smiling at Chris Bear’s stick work. Game recognizes game.

The list of songs Grizzly Bear had never performed live: “Central and Remote” (so good), “Plans,” “Reprise,” Horn Of Plenty’s “Campfire,” and three from Veckatimest: the subtly psychedlic, rousing and grooving victrola-era pop of “Ready, Able,” the Yellow House-redolent, sepia-toned “Dory,” and the set-closing, bittersweet and majestic torch-song “Foreground.” Together they effectively fucked with the idea that this new album will be one big sunny pop jam, adding dimension to our expectations while heightening them. People brought recording equipment of the audio/visual variety. Dig in:

“Ready, Able”

And the other two new songs come via oneforthegooddays:

Some video, both with the orchestra…


…and without:

“Deep Blue Sea”

Worth mentioning that the show-closing “He Hit Me” cover was intense and if video pops up we’ll surely post. Veckatimest is out 5/26 via Warp.

01 “None Of You Will Ever See A Penny”
02 “Horsetail Feathers”
03 “Keep The Dog Quiet”
04 “Lewis Takes Action”
05 “Arctic Circle”
06 “He Poos Clouds”
07 “The End Of Time” (w/ Aaron Dessner of The National on bass)
08 “Tryst With Mephistopheles” (w/ Aaron Dessner of The National on bass)
09 “The CN Tower Belongs To The Dead “
(Most of the set featured The National’s Bryan Devendorf on drums and Nico Muhly on celeste)

01 “Easier” (with Aaron and Bryce Dessner of The National on banjo and guitar)
02 “Central and Remote”
03 “Ready, Able”
04 “Two Weeks” (band only, no orchestra)
05 “Plans”
06 “Colorado”
07 “Reprise” (with Aaron and Bryce)
08 “Little Brother” (band only, no orchestra)
09 “Campfire”
10 “Dory”
11 “While You Wait” (band only, no orchestra)
12 “Foreground”
13 “Deep Blue Sea” (band only, no orchestra)
14 “He Hit Me” (band only, no orchestra)

Comments (46)
  1. I don’t know about anyone else, but I just keep noticing how awesome the Dessner brothers are. Honestly, they’re humble and talented as hell. Rock on.

  2. indeedz. that colorado clip is fucking phenomenal.

  3. it was one of those shows where you actively know when you’re sitting there that you’re lucky to be apart of something so affecting.

    just absolutely gorgeous.

  4. show was phenomenal. thanks for the clips.

  5. saturday not friday

  6. OK so “Foreground” and “Dory” are amazing but “Ready Able” is FUCKING MAGICAL!

  7. Happy Happy  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    Can’t tell you how happy I am I got to see this. I dont’ even want to listen to these because I don’t want them to ruin my memory. What a fucking incredible evening. Foreground gave me shivvers.

    Consider me officially excited for the new album. I brought my mom and she’s now a fan too! :)

  8. genevieve  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    all the new stuff is SO good. was scouring the internet in vain for foreground so thank you for putting it up here!

  9. Dante   |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    Final Fantasy was amazing!

  10. it was absolutely transcendent…

  11. Every single Grizzly Bear post on here and Brooklyn Vegan gets up to 70 posts each time. This looks like it’s heading that way.

    It was indeed a great show.

  12. i cant find a decent quality bootleg and it makes me sad…

  13. HP/MP  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    I loved Daniel and Ed’s “Mario Bros.” thing they had going on.
    Amazing amazing show. Owen still can’t take compliments!

  14. Geno  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    Finally someone gives Final Fantasy the time he deserves. Everywhere else all people talk about was Grizzly Bear, when in fact I feel Final Fantasy should have been the artist of note from the evening. I love Grizzly Bear and I liked their set, but Final Fantasy’s set was breathtaking. Owen Pallett is not only a spectacular muscian but also a wonderful composer. So thank you Stereogum for giving Final Fantasy the recognition that he deserved.

  15. Cherry_Ghost  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    That was an amazing experience, especially “Central and Remote” (the crescendo at about a minute in gave me chills). But how about the Gillman Opera House? That is one beautiful building.

    I was a little disappointed that Owen didn’t pick “This Lamb Sells Condos” for his set, but oh well.

  16. Is there any known mp3′s of the entire show out there yet? Please god please.

  17. Their cover of He Hit Me used to make me feel uncomfortable. I’m over it.

  18. Erik  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    are any other drummers absolutley blown away by Chris Bear’s amazing drum work. His grooves are so deep and nuanced. The perfect balance between bombastic intensity and tasty finness.

  19. Donny  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    Everything about this night was right on the money. It sounded amazing and it looked killer. The production quality was way up there. Props to BAM and the Phil for whoever they got to handle it.

  20. thisband  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    This band makes me feel bad about my life. My lord they just keep getting better. Final Fantasy was great too!!!

  21. corin  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    Not sure if it’s because we were at the Brooklyn Phil, Bell Orchestre, Clogs show on Thursday night, but I was a lot less impressed with this show. It also may have been due to the fact that this time we were up on the top balcony where it was about 27685 degrees, and 4 out of the 6 people in my party napped out during the show at some point due to heat exhaustion…

    • Ben  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

      was also at clogs/bell orchestre on thursday and also wound up on the balcony for GB/FF. i definitely preferred the shuffle mode format to the simple orchestral backing. it allowed the brooklyn phil to actually flex some muscle. GB was amazing, don’t get me wrong, but as far as a concert experience goes, it ranked similarly to the other times i’ve seen them. can’t wait for the new album, the new songs were the highlight!

  22. disgruntled hipster no. 416  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    Oh my god.

  23. Niglet Jr.  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    It must be stifling as a band to have the “taste-makers” stereogum and pitchfork all up in your shit 24/7. Sadly, they’re loving it the attention. Grizzly Bear are real assholes.

    • girlfriend  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

      Grizzly Bear is such a hardworking band. They are all so nice. No one is egotistical or rude. They deserve all the success they get. Please don’t share the record if you have it. It’s too soon.

  24. Jarrett  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0


  25. moop  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    veckatimest is just amazing….holy shit. fuck merriweather post pavilion….album of 09 confirmed right here

  26. ah…i secretly fancied Grizzly Bear boys wore tuxes on that night.

  27. william  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    This album is incredible

  28. william  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0

    just realized something (lil something extra for you): track 9 “Hold Still” was previously performed as a Department of Eagles song called “If you’d forgive me” from their boot from the Bell House on 10/6/08 which I believe was posted on stereogum.

  29. lulz  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    wow. this pretty much sums it up perfectly.

    eargasm fo sho.

  30. LOL  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    your comment is so dumb it’s actually amazing. I love when people who are stupid talk about music. You really fail. Hard.

  31. ummm…get your own internet persona.

  32. Did you lick paint as a child?

  33. i hope this is being directed to fake grace6697. :(

  34. Ugh  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    ^ Not really Ed, obviously. Just fyi everyone

  35. ab  |   Posted on Mar 2nd, 2009 0

    to fake “Ed Droste”- you are so LAME–can’t even spell the name of your upcoming album..
    and FF is a friend of theirs, so don’t even..

  36. william  |   Posted on Mar 3rd, 2009 0


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