Since their inception in 2012, Bear's Den have been steadily working their folk rock magic, having recently released their third album. Now they've rolled out their tour, landing in
After fine support came from Wovoka Gentle, a synth-heavy trio, mixing poppy beats with more prog elements, Bear's Den arrived to what felt like a celebratory gig. There is an intimate quality to the band's music that perfectly fits the venue they are in, and one of the more impactful moments of the night is a performance of perhaps their biggest hit, 'Sophie'. The band stripped back the song, and performed it sans microphone or electric guitars. It was a wonderful sing-along moment and perhaps the
The set list is a well judged mix of hits and new material. 'The Star of Bethnal Green' (performed live for the first time) noticeably stands out, a wintry folksy treat almost too perfect for the season. It was accompanied by an amusing anecdote of how it gained its name and marked an example of the good-humoured way Bear's Den approach their shows. They entered to The Terminator theme song and seemed genuinely happy to be in
The spirit of collective camaraderie between audience and band built as the set moved towards some of Bear's Den's biggest hitters, with rousing performances of 'Above the Clouds of Pompeii' and 'Agape'. If Bear's Den music is on the gentler side, it doesn't matter, as each song rewards audiences with a beautiful harmony or the well-timed inclusion of a banjo. Newer material has a more electric edge to it, but the band has adhered closer to the folk part of their genre than many of their peers. They are all the better for this.
As the night drew to a close and the packed audience left the O2, you couldn't help but hope that Bear's Den would make a return to Oxfordshire soon. Their music is a tonic, emotionally charged and able to lift our spirits. I feel they'd be perfect for a festival slot, capturing audience members' hearts as dusk draws in. Bear's Den are a wonderfully grounded band that offer good humour and fabulous music.