The last time I saw Boy & Bear it was a chilled out, early afternoon slot at Splendour in the Grass, everyone was peacefully lying on the grass having beers in the sun, or meandering around in the shade wondering who the folksy melodists on stage were. Fast forward a couple years and they are selling out shows nation-wide to impassioned crowds yelling out for their favourite tracks (or you know, One Direction) to be played.
Just as the crowd had grown in size and energy since the first time I saw the band, so too had they, with Dave Symes now well embedded in the band and the quintet opening the show with a wall of sound that sustained its momentum for the following hour long set. Word to the wise; as chilled as they are over the wireless or through your hi-fi (how 90s) at home, Boy & Bear have matured to pack a big punch in their live shows.
Lead vocalist Dave Hosking navigated the crowd through 2013 release Harlequin Dream, with the audience piping up to sing along to ‘Three Headed Woman’ and lead-single ‘Southern Sun’. Much to the crowd’s delight ‘With Emperor Antarctica’ and ‘Moonfire’ favourites like ‘Rabbit Song, ‘Mexican Mavis’, and ‘Feeding Line’ weren’t omitted from the set list.
The on stage chemistry of the group was that of brothers, jibing each other and the crowd in between tracks and casually swapping instruments along the way. Sensing the end was nigh, it was intriguing to hear Hosking announce that there would be no encore for this, or any, of their shows.
Refreshing, that a band would make a simple stand against the pretty well entrenched practice of designing set lists and shows with encores in mind, when encores are by definition a repeated performance at the call of the audience – though I daresay this audience would have called for it given the buzz with which they responded to ‘The Storm’ to finish the show.
All in all, Boy & Bear put on a great show, pulling you into the highs and lows of their stories the whole way along. Shame about the tossers calling for them to play One Direction..
Boy & Bear are currently on the road across parts of Australia and Europe, right up until April 2014. Check out all of the dates on their official tour page.
Pick up a copy of Boy & Bear‘s 2013 release Harlequin Dream, now from their website.