Live Review: Bear’s Den – Newcastle

Bear’s Den

Newcastle University, Newcastle, 10 November 2019

Words and Photography: Callum Robinson

On a cold November night in Newcastle, Bear’s Den filled the crowd with warmth and emotion as they played to a full house at Newcastle University. I’ve been wanting to see Bear’s Den ever since they released their album Islands, back in 2014.

They were supported by the brilliant Tusks and Flyte, who really set the tone for the evening.

Tusks took to the stage first and grabbed the audience’s attention at once with her strong, resonant voice. She released her new album back in June, called Avalanche, and I’d strongly recommend that you give it a good listen. You won’t be sorry!

Next up was the brilliant Flyte. They called out to the crowd “Give us a wooo if you’ve heard of us” and it was clear that many had come to see them as well as Bear’s Den. With their beautiful harmonies and acoustics, they are a band I will certainly see again! You should too.

The bearded silhouettes of Bear’s Den appeared on stage as the theme tune to Apollo opened the set. The crowd – not withstanding the student union venue – had a wide age spectrum and they greeted the band with rich applause.

Their new album So That You Might Hear Me was released back in April and they played a number of tracks from it throughout the night, accompanied by some of their classics. They opened their set with one of the new tracks Fuel on the Fire and also played Fossils, Crow and Laurel Wreath. It was always going to be hard to beat their previous album Islands but the crowd seemed to really enjoy the tracks from it and even sang along.

One moment that set the crowd giggling, was when lead singer Andrew Davie shouted “If you know it, show it but without getting weird”. Andrew was referring to their song Magdalene which the crowd, once they heard the strong banjo intro, began to sing along to straight away. They ended this number by stripping it back to just Andrew singing with his acoustic guitar and it was a lovely moment.

The size and loyalty of their fan base was demonstrated when a young girl called Gillian, who’d flown all the way over from Canada to see their show on her birthday, received a shout out from Andrew, which was met with a warm reaction from the crowd.

There were two standout moments during the gig that were new to me, despite all of the many gigs I’d previously been attended – they played two tracks Don’t Let The Sun and Blankets completely unplugged. For the latter they decided to walk out into the crowd, forming a circle and began to play to the audience. They were met at first with perfect, almost stunned silence for both. Well, that is until they all started to sing along.. It was a truly magical moment!

They joked about Laurel Wreath being the last song they’d play, as they weren’t going to stand in a corridor for a minute and come back out. However they did just that and their encore was three huge hits, Pompeii, Blankets and Agape. This was the perfect ending to a beautiful night of music.

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