When you see a few hundred concerts, you know that sound. It comes pretty early in the show, normally before the first words are sung, definitely before the first chorus. The sound is a unified band that hits the changes like they’re sharing the same brain. Most bands cannot accomplish this or do not work enough to accomplish it. Grizzly accomplishes it.
I have been fortunate enough to see this band from their first show, through various lineup changes and levels of success. They have moved from following the model setup by bands like Lucero and Arliss Nancy to finding their own sound and voice. This has come through members coming and going, sure, but it also comes from maturity and comfort.
Chad Lyles has been the primary force in the band since the beginning. Bassist, Joseph Varner, has also been with Grizzly since that first show at Conroe’s Corner Pub back in April of 2009. The addition of guitarist and additional songwriter, Matt Peters, brought some new viewpoints and solid leads. Combine that with their newest drummer, Nathan Bander, who is a powerhouse drummer, and you have Grizzly building the momentum to turn them into one of the finest up and coming bands in the state of Texas.
On this night, I slid over to Scout Bar in Clear Lake for a free Thursday night show featuring Grizzly and some other local bands. Having never been to Scout Bar, I was not sure what to expect, but was pleased to find cheap, big beers and a quality sound system. Maybe it was the cheap beers, but I like to think it was the music, that brought a solid audience out on a Thursday night. It had been about six weeks since Grizzly took their annual break, so their ever-growing fanbase was definitely ready for a show in the band’s stomping grounds.
Kicking the show off with the title track from their recent EP, Victory, the momentum was set. The changes were tight, the sound was perfect and the audience responded with a wave of screams and applause.
For coming off of a break, the band fell right back into what they do best: rock out. Tinges of country touched the rock n’ roll base beautifully as older Grizzly tunes like How Fast They Fade flowed seamlessly into newer tunes like Better Than This.
A few missteps like guitar cords pulling mic stands down just added to the intensity of the show. In the reckless abandon that accompanies intense rock shows, equipment sometimes falls victim to the energy on stage. It is just the way it works sometimes.
After the band finished up its setlist, the audience was not ready to call it a night. Despite amps being shut off and the house music rising up, the audience was non-relenting in their demand for more songs from their hometown band. So, the band retook the stage and ripped into another classic Grizzly tune, Nightmare Lady. This has always been one of my favorite tunes from the band, next to the seldom played Stage Dive.
Grizzly keeps moving up through bigger venues, more cities and better exposure. Take my advice and get out to a show soon so you can tell folks how you saw them back in the clubs. Believe me, that day will come.
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