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Folk punk magic with a hint of elegant brass

Folk punk magic with a hint of elegant brass

With a dance floor packed with jumping fans and the brassy sound of trumpets filling the air, Georgia-native band Nana Grizol brought folk punk magic to Greenpoint’s Brooklyn Bazaar on Monday night. 

Illuminated by the orange glow of the stage lighting, lead singer Theo Hilton put on a show that fans will never forget. In a long-awaited tour for their 2017 album “Ursa Minor,” Nana Grizol was joined by local indie outfit Kid in the Attic, as well as the folk rock group Loamlands. 

The night was opened by Kid in the Attic, a Brooklyn-based indie band. Led by Maia MacDonald, the band’s songs are filled with samples of rain and other natural sound effects, superimposed by punchy bass and breathy lyrics about adolescent confusion. 

Followed by Nana Grizol’s touring partner Loamlands, the vibe of the show was quickly altered. The band, led by singer and guitarist Kym Register, has a style reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac, incorporating strong vocals and drum-heavy anthems.

Shortly after the performances from both openers, the stage was cleared and Nana Grizol walked on. 

Opening with their lively anthem “T.V. Song,” the band set the mood very quickly. Unlike 2010 album “Ruth,” “Ursa Minor” is significantly more brassy and high-energy, something they were able to recreate with the band’s live trumpet and tuba player. 

Playing songs like “Photos From When We Were Young” and “For Things That Haven’t Come Yet,” audience members sang along to Hilton’s emotionally heavy lyrics. Many of Nana Grizol’s songs are about the challenges of being a shy, gay male in the conservative South, while trying to pave your own musical path in the process. Additionally, several songs center around the cold, unforgiving nature of capitalism. 

Playing a representative selection from their three studio albums, Nana Grizol put on a show that brought audience members from being in tears one moment to dancing the next. 

The night would not have been complete without a performance of their popular tune “Cynicism,” a hard-hitting ballad about life’s small beauties, a perfect fit for your “sad songs” playlist. The audience belted along with Hilton, singing the song’s iconic lyric “cynicism isn’t wisdom, it’s a lazy way to say that you’ve been burned.”

If you are looking for a band with diverse instrumentation and lyricism, both between their albums and their songs, checking out Nana Grizol is worth your time. 

Their use of trumpets would be applauded by Neutral Milk Hotel, and their lyrics are close to those of The Mountain Goats. They will finish their East Coast tour with Loamlands at the end of the month, with stops in Boston, Massachusetts, and Richmond, Virginia, along the way. 

With an unwavering talent and rising popularity, Nana Grizol is not slowing down any time soon, and there is only more to come.

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