Live Review

Bear In Heaven, The Echo, Los Angeles

It might be auditorily and visually overwhelming but by design stays just short, living within the bounds of encompassing.

You walk into a strange venue in a strange city and look around; the thing about a scene is that you can always recognize the same people. The guy in the captain’s hat, the girl with the long cardigan and skinny jeans. The couple with matching flannel shirts and watchman’s caps. Though somewhat stereotypical, these familiar shapes help make you feel comfortable, at home and prepared for the music that is soon to come. It’s lucky that you are because, this evening, at L.A.’s The Echo, the music is about ready to bear down on you from the speakers hanging above the stage.

First on are Brooklyn’s Beach Fossils. Surprisingly mellow for the sounds that they produce, they take the stage with a sense of ownership not normally seen in a band so young. Apologizing for the slightly wonky sound the guitar may produce, Dustin Payseur explains that he has broken two already and is working on his third. Their show is a loud, slow burn. It certainly reaches a climax at the end (complete with dropping instruments and skulking offstage), but gets there by way of a measured stream of intensity. The crowd are incredibly pleased with the whole act; going a little nuts at the slice of 1960s sunshine infused pop that is ‘Daydream’. It seems a perfect match for Los Angeles; a little retro, a little grungy and a whole lot of attitude.

Unfortunately, the next act are less exciting. Twin Sister fall a little flat for this show, though the crowd are highly enthusiastic. It feels as though you’ve walked into a movie from the 80s pushed through a filter of psychedelic rock, synthesizers and warbley voices. While the music may work as a recorded piece, the stage presence of each of the players is not as dynamic or enticing.

Bear In Heaven however, are an entirely different animal all together. Tight and energetic, lead singer Jon Philpot takes immediate command of the stage. Though the music tends to be stirring, expansive and a little bit diaphanous, the power that the live show exudes is solid, driving and not a little bit epic. Their light show accents the controlled chaos that is their sound. It might be auditorily and visually overwhelming but by design stays just short, living within the bounds of encompassing. From the tribal sounds of the drums to the Vince and Justin sound of the vocals, they bring a fresh twist to electronic music. Each member works so very hard, you can see it in the sweat and the way they contort their faces; nevertheless, they remember to connect to the audience as well. Maybe not a hard feat when the female members of the audience are yelling at you to take off your shirt and asking for moustache rides, a comment at which Jon Philpot blushes furiously.

Ending with a cover of Lindstrom and Christabelle’s ‘Lovesick’ is a perfect end to the evening. Every single person in the audience melts into each other, moving as one. Bear In Heaven’s show is a dance party, an electronic coming together in sweaty movement.

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