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Nana Grizol


Theo Hilton, the leader of the ramshackle explosion of joyous noise that is Nana Grizol, cherishes the beauty of small things—gazing toward sunsets and starry skies, going for long drives, spending quiet moments with others. “I once saw a sunset so vivid and warm, that I swore it was perfect,” goes the quietly lilting “Cynicism”: “I once had a lover; I’m not sure if I’ll recover but I know it was worth it.” These two lines embody Nana Grizol all at once: the unforced sentimentality, the seeking of truth in beauty, the belief that everything, eventually, will find its way.

The words, though, would not be so affecting if not for the strength of the band that backs them. Comprised of former members of Elf Power, Neutral Milk Hotel and other mainstays of the Athens, GA music scene, Nana Grizol's sounds hurtle through furiously and gleefully strummed guitars, blaring horns, and beating drums. Songs ebb and swell, a perfect complement to the emotional rise of the lyrics.

I feel lucky to have seen Nana Grizol play at Shea a couple summers ago, on a hot June night. I remember walking across Meadow Street, heading up the stairs and settling in among the crowd. The band played with abandon: horns sounded, drums pounded, and the frenzied guitars and sweetness of the songs’ melodies suffused the room with warm energy. We danced, sang and were happy.

During a pause in their set, wanting fresh air, I stepped out onto the balcony and wound my way through dimly lit faces huddled over lit cigarettes. I looked out over the street and, taking in the view of the city above the warehouses, felt a surge of-- which emotion was it that seemed to pull me hard by the chest? Was it longing? Nostalgia? Nana Grizol understand exactly this indescribable feeling. When I listen, I know.

The band's third album (their first in seven years!) is out at the end of March--you owe it to yourself to catch them on their supporting tour, including a stop at Shea on March 28. Nana Grizol, we're glad you're back.
- Jeff Sadueste