Music Reviews & News
Boy & Bear
They’re no strangers to the touring circuit, having built up a devoted fan base during their Australian tours with folk royalty such as Mumford and Sons, Angus and Julia Stone and Laura Marling. Marling was so impressed with their live performances that she invited them to go on tour with her throughout the UK. And this was even prior to the release of their debut LP Moonfire, which hit the Australian public in August this year. So it was no surprise to see tickets for many venues sell out within days of being released for the latest tour of Boy and Bear, a Sydney 5 piece band who only joined forces in 2009.
I, like many others, first became genuinely familiar with their strong textured harmonies when they performed their Like A Version cover of Crowded House’s Fall At Your Feet on Triple J in 2010. Despite being someone else’s song, this immortal track allowed them some broad exposure and as a result landed them a coveted position in the top 5 of the 2010 Hottest 100.
Their own work however, is testimonial to the depth and skill that they possess. Each member came to the group as an established songwriter, and the story within each song reflects this. There is an unquestionable maturity within their work, and the diversity of songs on Moonfire indicates the adventurous spirits who understand what it is that grabs and holds a listener. Despite lead vocalist Dave Hosking’s voice being the perfect melodic folk voice, they have several other musical elements thrown into the mix such as retro-romanticism and even a little upbeat pirate pop. Add a live forum in the mix and you have yourself one cracker of a gig.
Some friends and I were privy to a fine performance by these amicable lads up at the Coolangatta Hotel in southeast Queensland last Thursday night. Strongly supported by the similarly folky sounding Paper Kites and the quirky antics of Ball Park Music, Boy and Bear took a more than willing crowd on a beautiful journey through their new album. The band showed off their multi-instrumental talents throughout the gig with band members switching places and tools according to the song requirements. All this pulled together with rich, harmony-drenched vocals that blended seamlessly with the instruments. Like the album, their live sound captivates you from the opening moment and doesn’t let go, even when Hosking is a little rough at remembering an opening beat from a song he hadn’t played in a while. Stating that they had made a call a few years back to not do encores, it was with a refreshing air that they closed the show with the upbeat crowd pleaser Feeding Line.
The magic was definitely in the room as these boys exhibited honesty in their sound, whilst appearing genuinely grateful for the enthusiasm and energy of the crowd. And yes, they played that certain cover song and it almost took the roof off….but there are worse bands to be ‘related’ to. Boy and Bear definitely leave you wanting more.
Words by Nicole Steel
Nicole Steel Of Northern Rivers, NSW.
Nicole is a passionate person: live music, writing, cooking, surfing and being a mum to name a few. Nic started a B.A. Communication Studies changing to a Bachelor of Environmental Science, Areas of concentration: Marine Biology and Ecology, Coastal Management. With a post graduate diploma of Education Studies and Community College NSW Certificate IV in Training and Assessment.