Live Review: Grizzly Bear, Kirin J Callinan

19 November 2012 | 2:45 pm | Jessie Hunt

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Kirin J Callinan opened the show with his artful, rock'n'roll tracks. They seem grounded and authentic before all else. He is something of a veteran on the Sydney music scene and his numerous shows around the city ensured many members of the audience had heard his particular brand of unstudied, rollicking indie rock before. There seems to be something almost chain-gang-like about the angst-filled, torturous pitch and mildly terrifying lyrics of Callinan's songs.

Grizzly Bear took to the stage through a haze of smoke amidst mountains of equipment – rows of synthesisers, racks of guitars, an omnichord and a drumkit. Their distinctive, overpowering sounds filled the Metro Theatre without preamble, but Grizzly Bear are renowned enough that their distinctly experimental aesthetic speaks for itself. It is incredible to hear this band take a soundscape from sparse and delicate to a wild cacophony of improvised music. The band's entrancing, gorgeous vocal harmonies are particularly remarkable; on virtually every track, it is impossible not to be completely captivated by the soaring, ghostly vocals. Shift, from their debut album, Horn Of Plenty, was a set highlight; its intricate arrangements were reproduced onstage near perfectly and as the track's opening chords echoed through The Metro, the packed-out crowd fell silent. The track's haunting, evocative lyrics worked in tandem with the band's flawless vocal work, mesmerising the crowd. The strident keys and heavy, staccato drumbeat of Yet Again are certainly a contrast to earlier tracks, but the audience's response was just as positive. In performance, this track takes on an almost explosive, cathartic quality and the audience seemed to know every word. Closing with an acoustic All We Ask, in which Ed Droste's clear, incredible vocals rang out across the venue, it would seem that Grizzly Bear have once again cemented their reputation as one of the most remarkable indie bands around.