O2 Academy – 29/03/17
There’s something about Glasgow’s O2 Academy that can make watching the right band feel like a quasi-religious experience. The ornamented ceiling and walls, filled with fans congregating and singing in unison, all in praise of the band they’ve made pilgrimage to see that night. Indeed, Bear’s Den are one of those bands.
Whilst on the surface, Bear’s Den look like any other indie folk-rock ensemble – three beardy blokes in skinny jeans with a mandatory banjo and at least one hat – the packed out venue suggests that they’re more than just another band riding on the coattails of Mumford & Sons et al. Opening with the title track from their latest album, Red Earth & Pouring Rain, a seemingly simple stage is brought to life with a dazzling light show – though the single stick of burning incense to left of the band is a questionable addition.
The spiritual ambiance of the venue is fitting, as the band launch into songs from their debut and sophomore releases, including ‘Isaac’, ‘Gabriel’, and ‘New Jerusalem’. The high point of the night, however, comes with their performance of ‘The Love We Stole’ – as the room burst into glittering hues of pink and purple, the audience come alive, chanting the chorus back at the band, creating a truly ethereal atmosphere.
Their penultimate song, an acoustic rendition of ‘Bad Blood’, has the three sharing one mic and singing harmonies akin to those of a church choir, making a sprawling venue feel very intimate for a few minutes, before closing the night with crowd pleaser ‘Agape’. Whilst Bear’s Den may not be doing anything particularly new, they certainly do it well, and based on tonight’s performance, their upwards trajectory seems set to continue.