Tag Archives: mixology

Grizzly Bear, Fillmore 6.21.09

I’ve started writing something about Grizzly Bear in this window six or so times now.  I’m vacillating.  “Grizzly Bear played at truly great show last night.”  “I’ve seen Grizzly Bear play many, many times.”  “I couldn’t count how many times I’ve seen Grizzly Bear if I were asked.”  I’m wondering what the value is of lauding these people publicly.  Music writing.  Such a load.  This isn’t a story about Grizzly Bear.  It’s a story about me.

21hayes

Pre-show at Absinthe.  Above, the “21 Hayes.”

Nouveau Carrè

the “Nouveau Carré”

loading in

loading in

sign

soundcheck2

Soundcheck

takingflight

Bear gets ready to take flight in response to something Simon said

taylor

Taylor watches

dan

Dan in the mist

grizzly bear

At this point I left to eat some Vietnamese food in the Mission with some very nice, very well-educated people.  In spite of my desire to honor Edward Droste’s love of Pho, I at the clay pot fish.  I can’t help it.  I just love it.

the show

I’m pretty sure this picture was taken during Lullaby, one of my all-time favorite Grizzly Bear songs.  When I watched the show (from the middle-middle where the sound is the best), and actually when I watch almost any Grizzly Bear show, I can’t help but get emotional.  While I’d love to be able to avoid sarcasm, I can’t help but add that this sentiment of mine surely isn’t unique judging by the crowd last night.  But I (again, like many others) feel like that emotion is mine only, and completely unique.  What is it about pop music that does this to us?  I’m sure if Timothy White (one of the greatest music writers of my time, I must say, since it doesn’t seem to say it anywhere else) were here, he could write much more eloquently on the subject.

But, in full disclosure (finally, though it must be somewhat obvious), I know these guys.  I “grew up” with them.  I watched them play Zebulon (seated, all jazz-like) in what? ’03? ’04?  Over the years, Grizzly Bear has become less a band and more a soundtrack for me (and us all?  and all music pop music is soundtrack?).  Each song denotes a different age, separation, or season.  The identification is intense, as are the memories.  Walking through Greenpoint in the snow, pining for lost carefree days in New York City, and finally realizing it’s not mine anymore.  I’m all grown up, for now.  But in a good way.

And so is Grizzly Bear.  These four, once a loose collection of three master instrumentalists and one vocal boss aren’t playing around any more, but they aren’t taking themselves too seriously either.  They are all constantly moving and stretching different ways; more rock, more psych, less self-obsessed, more self-disciplined, less noise, more sound, less harmony, more vocals.  And, slightly more rarely than when I was a New Yorker, I get to ride alongside of it all.  Being there; remembering when I was in Argentina, that I met someone who fixed it, that it’s my existential crisis–imagining myself on a ranch in the Rockies asking myself what now?  And that it’s my folk revival, that I see the unexpectedly lonely image of two dories.

Maybe that’s it.  That’s the beauty.  And if Grizzly Bear does all that, for me, and apparently so many others, who can find fault?

edward

all grown up now

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A San Francisco Afternoon

Very uncharacteristically, I was in San Francisco for the afternoon yesterday.  I don’t love San Francisco very much, but I found a few spots that really hit the nail on the head.

1.  If you find yourself in, or are willing to travel to, an undesirable neighborhood (the Marina) you can rely on an oasis of soothing at Blue Barn Gourmet on Chestnut.  I love Blue Barn because of the truly amazing produce in their salads and sandwiches.  Romaine lettuce isn’t something I usually want to write home about, but Blue Barn changed all that for me.  Who knew romaine actually had flavor?!  In addition to composing tasty lunches, Blue Barn serves as a point of contact for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) exchange.  

bluebarn1

2.  Happy hour was spent at Nihon, a Japanese whisky bar.  At 5:45, the rays of the sunset were streaming in and I was sitting with two lovely companions-one had the French 75 and the other the Negroni.  Both were delicious.  There were beats playing, but soft enough, and the bar was full but not crowded.  I told the lovely waitress that I wasn’t in the mood for whisky (she was understanding), and was looking for something not too sweet (I detest sugary cocktails served up).  She recommended the “21 Hayes,” with gin, cucumber and lemon.  It was perfect: not too much alcohol, not too much saturated fruit or vegetable flavor, not too much simple syrup.  Apparently, Jeff Hollinger of Absinthe Bar made this drink famous, but the Nihon version was good enough for me.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring myself to stay for snacks or a second drink because it just got too crowded and loud in there for 6:30 (with everyone from college kids to yuppies to a baby carriage (?!)…people in the Bay are so crazy).  But aren’t we glad someone is making money these days?  

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