Saturday, 22 February 2014
FOR THE RECORD: BOY & BEAR Live @ The Deaf Institute, Manchester (21/02/14)
Australia has a rich history and culture and plenty to be proud of...especially when it comes to music. From legends like AC/DC and INXS to todays best The Jezabels and Angus & Julia Stone. Let's not forget however one of the best up and coming bands you'll find not just in Australia but wherever you go. Boy & Bear are more than just a great, young band famous for their classic Crowded House cover 'Fall At You Feet'. Last night at 'The Deaf Institute' in Manchester, on the U.K. leg of their 'Harlequin Dream ' album tour they had the fans at theirs showing when it comes to their own writing and recording they have much more to offer. It was one of those perfect, small gigs. One of those unforgettable nights in an inspired intimate setting with your closest listening to great music all night and not wanting it to end. Feeling it from the first soundcheck to the last of the setlist. This writer must admit he knew nothing about this band until introduced by his girlfriend whose been a fan from the start, but now he's a fan too. More people need to see and hear more of this band who where able to help themselves to a meal in the downstairs terrific 'Trof' bar of Manchester. They better order quick however from now on because soon everyone will be lining up to buy them drinks for whats always guaranteed to be a great show.
After some incredible vocal support by young male singer-songwiter Eaves on the acoustic, Boy & Bear took to the stage to raucous and rabid applause and cheering from their dedicated faithful who filled the sold-out pit. Opening with their new album favourite, foot stomping 'Three Headed Women', every head in the house was nodding like those novelties people put in the back of their cars. There wasn't a steady shoe in the building all the way through to the 'Feeding Line' finale from their classic 'Moonfire' debut in a all-record but strictly (albeit friendly) no encore gratifying gig of both records reeled off. Stealing through both their sublime sets the band played as beautifully as their new album artwork looks even with all the animal fighting. A carnival of colours and themes from great guitar work to lasting lyrics this band made more fans from those pigging out in the 'Trof' downstairs that could hear but wish they could pay their bill, come upstairs and squeeze into the sold-out affair. Those in attendance though got to feel close-up just why 'Harlequin' is a number one album in Australia. From the beautiful 'Old Town Blues' to the stellar 'Southern Sun' and the even more magical 'A Moments Grace'.
Those new to the band also got to get a sneak-hear of just how good this band and it's first-time followers where with their breaking 'Moonfire' debut and its 'Part Time Believer' faithful 'Golden Jubilee' sound. An album recorded in the 'Music City', Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A., with the 'Milks & Sticks' and 'Percy Warner Park' classics that drew them comparisons to one of-not only folks best-but one of the best bands around today in the beautiful and epic Mumford & Sons (who they've supported along with A & J.S). Last night in the city of the Stone Roses and Oasis it was all about the Aussies though. Even if the legendary artist known as Prince was literally playing down the street on his epic, trending guerilla tour, it didn't matter it was all about the bears not the purple. Besides when your paying 70 pounds for the symbol and barely 10 for theses boys you know you've got the better end of the deal with feeding room for a bite and a drink before hand. Fans down the road would have to walk home in the lashing, lasting rain. Can't pay for cab fare when you've just spent a weeks wage for an evening. Here Boy & Bear where so worth it you where glad of the merchandise stand of collectible viynl and wearable t-shirts, because these guys deserved more. As nice as ever they even passed round a 'Wild Turkey' for the crowd to pass round themselves and share. No, this was not some crazy Christmas dinner leftover but a bottle of Kentucky whiskey given to them as an appreciative gift from their industry friends Elbow. Never mind the name-drop, doesn't that company certification tell you just how good this band are?
If your not convinced and want it straight then head to their next show if you can get tickets or just hear the great music that will sound just as live in your living-room if played right. As right as they played last night showing and proving they where more than just some newcomer or one to record, but instead a group that survived the so-called 'sophmore slump' and showed they're getting as better with age as that bottle of turkey would have if it lasted longer than a few more gobbles from around the fans that left it looking at about a shot and a half. The Sydney sons from New South Wales are about to come out of the down underground. Nursing a 1664 and artistic acoustic, lead-singer Dave Hosking had the Hutchence confidence stage-presence, tempered with an everyman down to earth appeal that won over the crowd and one day will make that moustache famous. Killian Gavin was bang-on on guitar too with some ravishing riffs of power and promise. While Tim Hart provided some dynamic druming, vocals and awesome crowd interaction that only an Aussie could. Add a brother in some Jon Hart banjo, keyboards and Dave Symes bass slapping and you have a band. Sprinkle a room full of dedicated fans introducing them to their most devoted and you have a simmering following that will lead this band to even bigger venues and stages. Still, with all the success to come theres something special about these small shows that can't be replaced or duplicated. No wonder one of the biggest artists in the world is playing small venues down the road too. It all starts with a couple of instruments, lights and the people that know good music. That's the Boy and the Bear, a band of fire and dreams who are about to moonrise from the 'Harlequin' mask to the big-top, big-time. TIM DAVID HARVEY.