8th November | O2 Academy
You would be forgiven for feeling like you were part of a cult. Something truly special and so mesmerising that even your lack of oxygen at that moment doesn’t matter.
We’re talking about one of many Bears Den’s sold out UK tour dates. The London based two-piece Andrew Davie and Kev Jones rocketed onto the music scene in 2012 and now four years later, they’re having their own lyrics crooned to them at live shows.
Tonight at O2 Academy, with a band of four behind them, the duo hit the ground running right from the beginning. Jumping on the stage to single ‘Red Earth and Pouring Rain’ – also the title of their second album, the room was hooked in mere seconds by the band’s beautifully-tuned melodies.
As the evening went on, every single song was memorable – from old favourites like the ‘Sophie’ to new floor-fillers ‘Auld Wives’, ‘Greenwoods Bethlehem’ and ‘Broken Parable’. You felt intrusive for singing the beautifully penned lyrics to ‘Roses on a Breeze’ – clearly written for a love lost, but this time it was intimate without being excruciating.
Uniquely for the band, ‘Stubborn Beast’ was part of the set list. A masterpiece from their first album Islands which has never been played to an audience before. “We kinda just mixed this all together in the studio and thought it sounded cool, but never been able to play it live,” Andrew laughed nervously. He needn’t have been worried as it was received spectacularly, and without a hitch.
It was refreshing to see their genuine nature. Even though they’ve sold out well over half of their European tour, and broken the US with four records under their belt – Bear’s Den still remain modest. They stand in awe at the reciprocation of the crowd and never stop thanking their humble fans.
The highlight of the night was the encore. The band jumped off the stage and hit the stairs where they played a raw version of ‘Gabriel’. The room dared not breathe. Still, they weren’t done. They kicked off ‘Agape’ and ‘Napoleon’ flawlessly, and the yet the crowd wasn’t satiated.
Like the albums, not a single song was a filler, or a time waster. From the first few chords of every hit, the crowd were poised – as if they were about to perform themselves. Fans of their EP Without/Within may have been disappointed to have missed out on hearing the gorgeous ‘Sahara’, but this was quickly forgiven. Surprisingly there was not a Drake cover, which has been a favourite since the days of ‘Hold On We’re Going Home’.
Bear‘s Den fans will be always begging for more. Every song was climactic and overpowering, yet it will never be enough. There was a mixed attitude to the throng that battled out of the venue. The band’s new generation of fans from their mainstream radio plays and MTV hits were ecstatic to be part of something so rare. Yet fans who have followed them from the beginning knew that it was their counterparts that would stop them from seeing Bears Den in a venue as intimate and perfect as the academy.
Check out the video for ‘Dew On The Vine’ below.