This last Saturday marked one of the more exciting evenings of the summer for live indie music fans. The terrific music blog Gorilla vs Bear put on their 2nd annual GvB Festival at the Granada Theater here in Dallas. The show featured several of the site’s favorite artists of the year, all of which rarely come or have never been to Dallas before. So not only is the event a nice collection of the year’s hottest artists but it also serves as sort of an only-chance-to-see us evening. After last year’s success I was quite anxiously awaiting this year’s festival and was very happy to leave the show with expectations fully met!
The first show I caught was the gorgeous Laurel Halo. I must admit I entered the show with a little crush on Laurel, what with her dreamy, spacey, drone sound and flowing locks….but I had no idea what to expect from her live set. Anyone who has heard Laurel’s fantastic Quarantine LP is aware she is known for putting together some of the most impressive soundscapes of recent memory, but how does that translate to the stage? The answer is, flawlessly. Not only was she able to execute her atmospheric melodies, but she was more than happy incorporate some heavy dubstep beats that don’t always come across on her releases. She really pumped the beats deep into the place, enough so that I even witnessed a beer being vibrated off a table. I was extremely excited to hear her loop some more pop hooks into the set, reminiscent of a down-tempo Grimes. My favorite part of the show was halfway through the set, Laurel asking for the lights to be turned off, “I don’t Like them”. Always creating that atmosphere….
After the Taken By Trees sound debacle that severally limited their performance, so much so that I find it unfair to mention or judge them because the sound issue wasn’t their fault, came Twin Sister. With these guys I knew what to expect since I had seen them open for Beirut last year. The group circles around the ever bubbly Andrea Estella and always does a great job channeling her energy into some really killer dream-funk vibes. I catch these guys as often as I can if nothing more than for the fun atmosphere they create. The crowd is always a factor because the group goes out of their way to involve us. Of course the singles were great, ‘Bad Street’ is still one of my favorite live songs but the new song was the highlight for me. Can’t wait for some sort of new release out of these guys
Finally, the highlight of the night, Chromatics! These guys rocked, plain and simple. If you’ve not gotten on this bandwagon do it now. Not only have Chromatics released one of my favorite albums of the year, but now they put on one of my favorite shows. From the get go Johnny Jewel and his buddies had me and the rest of the crowd hooked. I still can’t believe how much of a rock show this was. Going in I was curious as to how the group’s future dance/disco sound would cross over on the stage, it took only 30 seconds to soothe my worries. Not only did they have the crowd dancing but they were also able to get some heads banging, proving yet again their cross over appeal. Every song was stellar, but the pinnacle was their closing tracks, their terrific covers of Kate Bush’s ‘Running up that Hill’ and Neil Young’s ‘Into the Black’. Needless to say, I could not have left the show any happier.
All in all another successful venture for Gorilla vs Bear and friends. This festival is gaining some traction in the area and could probably work as a multi-day fest in the near future (fingers officially crossed for next year). If you missed the show this year keep your eyes open for news next spring for GvB3!