Grizzly Bear shows that beauty lies in ruin

Grizzly Bear and serpentwithfeet play at the Orpheum 12/07/17

Grizzly Bear Vancouver
Photo by Jack Madeley

The high vaulted ceilings and historic beauty of the Orpheum Theatre is a pearl on Granville Street. On Thursday night (Dec. 7) Grizzly Bear and serpentwithfeet showed Vancouver what it looks like when something beautiful has been destroyed, when a pearl has been tarnished or a building turns to rubble. The stage was covered in large, netted cobwebs that made the Orpheum look like an old abandoned building. Fans filtered in and took their seats feeling like they were walking into a derelict opera house.  

Grizzly Bear is currently touring their newest album, Painted Ruins, which is the first album they have put out in five years. After taking a break from music, they found coming back to the music scene challenging and felt like the music industry was just a noise-content machine.

Out of the fog Grizzly Bear appeared and got right down to business. They started off with “Four Cypresses,” then went into one of their hit songs from Painted Ruins, “Losing All Sense”. In typical Grizzly Bear fashion the band was very serious and somber. Co-vocalist Ed Droste finally broke the intensity and said, “Thank you Vancouver, it’s a pleasure being back in your beautiful city. We have never played at the Orpheum. Thank you for having us.” Then very formally got back into the set.

Grizzly Bear Band
Photo by Jack Madeley

As fog continued to roll in, blue and red lights lit up the stage and created an eerie apocalyptic feel. Daniel Rossen (co-vocalist) ended the formal setting and said, “Everyone get out of your seats, I don’t know if we are allowed to do this but we are doing it.” The crowd surged from their seats and flocked to the stage and the show took an energetic turn. They played a lot of their older songs such as “Two Weeks” and “Knife”. Both of these songs were released almost a decade ago and the nostalgia started to kick in. Audience members remembered the first time they heard these songs, and shivers danced up their spines.  

Grizzly Bear left the stage after their last song and the crowd waited with baited breath  for an encore. The band took what felt like a lifetime to come back on stage, fans started yelling “ what the chuff” to get them back on stage. Finally Grizzly Bear came back on stage for the encore and played “Shift,” which was released 13 years ago. 

Painted Ruin can either be seen as things crumbling down, or restoring a wreckage back to its natural beauty. This is what Grizzly Bear is doing with the music industry: taking something that has crumbled and rebuilding it into something beautiful.

Grizzly Bear Vancouver
Photo by Jack Madeley