Grizzly Bear is a band we love to love, both for its rumpled Brooklyn pedigree and the spare, delicate and cerebral poetry of songs such as “Two Weeks” (the relative hit from 2009’s “Veckatimest”) or “Speaking in Rounds” and "Yet Again" from the current release “Shields.”
We are not alone, of course. Over the years they’ve won favor from such diverse influencers as Stephen Colbert, Jay-Z, Ellen DeGeneres and the Pitchfork crowd.
By any accounting, Grizzly Bear is a success. Unless, apparently, if you actually start counting dollars.
In an illuminating profile published in New York magazine pegged to the fall release of “Shields,” Grizzly Bear singer-founder Ed Droste was astonished that most of us remain unwilling to download an album legitimately for, say, $9 — the cost of “a f---ing appetizer, a large popcorn at the movie theater, and you’ll have it forever.”
The unreliability of the pop music revenue stream is not news, and the social-media dust-up over the interview (for the record, there was no whining, just what seemed to be an honest response to questions asked) was mercifully brief.
But it was a reminder that in a radio age dominated by disposable hits from acts such as Icona Pop and Krewella, your favorite indie musicians may not live like you think they do.
“People probably have an inflated idea of what we make,” Droste said. “Bands appear so much bigger than they really are now, because no one’s buying records. … Obviously, we’re surviving. Some of us have health insurance. Some of us don’t. We basically all live in the same places. No one’s renting private jets.”
There is no denying the popularity of Grizzly Bear on the current tour, which has sold out most shows in the U.S. and Canada on its way to Miami Beach Tuesday night, with diverse settings that include a stop at Bonnaroo last weekend and the massive Latitude Music Festival in England next month. Here's one of many reasons to spend the money on "Shields" and to go hear them live:
IF YOU GO
Grizzly Bear will perform at 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Fillmore Miami Beach (1700 Washington Ave.) with opening act Majical Cloudz. Tickets for the general-admission, all-ages show cost $30. Call 305-673-7300 or go to FillmoreMB.com, Facebook.com/grizzlybear.