The National, Grizzly Bear Struggle in New York

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The National / Photo by Sean O'Kane
WRITTEN BY
Larry Fitzmaurice

Nothing ruins a night at the movies like idle audience chatter -- and the same could be said for concerts. But apparently the crowd at Friday night's New York magazine 40th anniversary party, held at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City, didn't seem to care. The lively crowd of media types and music fans gabbed through comedy troupe Stella's intermittently hilarious opening monologue, and didn't think it necessary to pipe down as Brooklyn experimental rock outfit Grizzly Bear took the stage. In turn, the band's set suffered.

Apparently unnerved by the audience's din, the usually tight foursome fought sound issues that plagued their otherwise heavenly set. While new material such as the mountainous "Fine For Now" and the Television-esque untitled set opener snapped with urgency, older songs "Colorado" and "Little Brother," both off 2006's Yellow House, seemed to be weighted down by unusually off-kilter rhythms.

If Grizzly Bear could be awarded points for slogging through the impenetrable chatter, then New York's the National should have been docked for complacency. Save for set sorta-highlights "Fake Empire" and "Start a War," the band blustered through what seemed to be a set of sonically monochrome textures and forced riotousness (e.g., bandleader Matt Berninger's somewhat ridiculous-looking microphone stand throw) as the previously noisy audience became bizarrely -- and silently -- enraptured. It appears just a little drama goes a long way!

Check out more pictures from the show on page 2.


The National / Photo by Sean O'Kane


The National / Photo by Sean O'Kane


Grizzly Bear / Photo by Sean O'Kane


Grizzly Bear / Photo by Sean O'Kane

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