Grizzly Bear & Beach House Light Up Hollywood Palladium

“I don’t know how to talk about music,” admitted lead singer Victoria Legrande halfway through Beach House’s set at The Hollywood Palladium last night. Even though her between song stage banter could have been slightly more articulated (it was still pretty amusing), Legrande instead spoke to the audience through her band’s ever-alluring, dreamy indie-pop ballads. Her enchanting vocals carried the bands otherwise minimal live set-up (3 piece, no bass guitar), with little to no back-ups.

I had previously seen the band in festival settings, including 2008’s Siren Fest at Coney Island and this summer’s Jelly Pool Party in Williamsburg (also with Grizzly Bear). With music better suited for a small indoor venue, the change of setting made a world of difference for the band’s live sound, which seemed a bit overly washed out from the end of Stillwell Avenue. The addition of a live drummer succeeded in bulking up the drum machine lead tracks, adding a slow, steady punch to the band’s earlier material.

Highlights from the set included “Used to Be” from their debut Subpop 7″ (which, as Legrande so eloquently explained, is ’about change’), and other muchly enjoyed new songs from their upcoming 3rd full length, Teen Dream (“Norway(?)” and [Title Unknown(?)]). Stand out tracks from 2008’s Devotion, including the singles “Gila” and “Heart of Chambers,” were especially alluring/dreamy.

As for Grizzly Bear, the Band of the Year continues to wow their own fans with impeccable live performances full of spot-on four-part harmonies and songs that Brian Wilson wishes he had written. The band’s atmospheric arrangements resonated wonderfully through-out the bowl shaped Los Angeles venue. Legrande joined midway through to perform Veckatimest’s “Two Weeks” (she’s featured on the recording as well), and their duet, “Slow Life,” from the Twilight: New Moon deal.

Lead singer, Ed Droste, was sure to thank the band’s lighting tech, who, as they pointed out, was amazingly talented. The stage had been set up with glass jars hanging from 3 different stands, all with lightbulbs inside that went on and off in different patterns for different songs. It was appropriately subtle, yet mesmerizing; much like Grizzly Bear’s stage presence themselves.

After a truly enthralling set, including the classic pop of “While You Wait For the Others,” the devastating beauty of “Foreground” (literally heard a few “wows” after that one) and the intense build of “Lullabye,” the band returned for an encore of “He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)” from their 2007 Friends EP. The haunting, slow-paced 60’s cover turned out to be a fitting, low key ending to the night.

The Ultimate Chillfuzz Tour (not the real name) finishes up in San Diego tonight, with Beach House then heading to Spain for Primevera Sound, and Grizzly Bear to Europe just in time to ride that Veckatemist UK/EU Special Edition release into next year. Albumoftheyear, albumoftheyear, albumoftheyear.

Not sure how many different ways I can express how good these bands are. I don’t know how to talk about music.

Elizabeth Stolfi

Losanjealous officially welcomes Liz to the west coast, hailing from Brooklyn!
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