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All Points West: What are you waiting for? Go see Grizzly Bear live already!

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Grizzlybear_l

Grizzlybear_lMy entire legs and back are currently aching something serious, abyproduct of the many hours I spent last night packt into an elbow-jabbin’,sweaty-smellin’, generally personal-space-violatin’ standing-room scrumto watch Radiohead play the first night of the inaugural All PointsWest Music & Arts Festival. So worth the pain! Much more on thatlater. Right now, though, I’ve gotta hop back over to the wilderness atNew Jersey’s Liberty State Park to catch APW night 2. I’ll leave you with a brief word of advice in the meantime: If you are lucky enough to havetickets for the present leg of Radiohead’s North Americantour, make sure you get to the venue early enough to catch GrizzlyBear (pictured)’s opening set.

These guys just get better every time I see them. I dug Grizzly Bear’s original 2004 model, when it was a lo-fi solo project ofmulti-instrumental prodigy (and sometime PopWatcher) Ed Droste. I went even wilder for the expanded lineup — including co-frontman Daniel Rossen, woodwind/bass guy Chris Taylor, and drummer Christopher Bear — that recorded 2006’s Yellow House, a masterpiece of woozy acoustic atmosphere. But Grizzly Bear mk. 2008? Out of control. They’ve got the same lovely four-part vocal harmonies, but their whole vibe has gotten more focused, confident, upbeat. Ed and Daniel are straight-up enunciating their lyrics now, and their jangly guitar riffs are front and center. Could Grizzly Bear be on the verge of breaking through to a much bigger audience with their next album? If you’d seen the way yesterday’s second-stage crowd was feeling “Two Weeks” — the stellar new sunshine-pop tune Grizzly Bear played on Letterman a couple weeks ago — you’d believe it. Even the audience dude in the Heath/Joker makeup was jamming out! Watch these guys, I’m telling you. (And check out yesterday’s performance of “Two Weeks” via the instantaneous magic of YouTube, below.)

Oh, and Radiohead? I’ll leave my thorough analysis til after I’ve seen theirsecond headlining performance tonight. (Sneak preview: ZOMG I SAWRADIOHEAD 2 NITES IN A ROW!!!1!) Suffice it to say that I’ll concede to dear Aunt Whittlz that a raucous outdoor festival full of European randos who were really there to see Underworld‘s set might not be the absolute ideal setting to appreciate Radiohead’s music — but despite that factor, I could not dissent more strenuously from my good friend Whitney’s Lolla thoughts. Radiohead simply owned my soul last night. (Shocking twist, I know.) And on that note, this superfan is signing off for now, and heading off for another evening of soul-ownage and muscle-wrenchage…

addCredit(“Grizzly Bear: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images”)

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