Live Review – Boy & Bear, W/ Montaigne and Art Of Sleeping

So about a month ago I landed my dream job – an internship working at a music blog, AAA Backstage. The perks of this job including free gigs, meeting some of my favourite artists, and doing what I love – writing. Needless to say, this has been the best thing to happen to me in a very long time. A lot of what I write are tour announcements, song reviews etc. So nothing that interesting. But the major articles, I’m probably going to post here. So, as you can guess by the title, I went to Boy & Bear on the weekend! It was their last show in Australia before the European leg, so they delivered an absolute masterpiece. So, here is my review.

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After a long day of speculating a large crowd assembled at Brisbane’s Riverstage, relieved by the clear skies and absence of rain. The result was feverish excitement as we all piled onto the dance floor and prepared for Boy & Bear’s final Australian show.

Montaigne was first of the ranks. She may have been the rookie member of the lineup, but she wasn’t to be underestimated. Her bold, restless stage presence and impressive pipes were the perfect warm up. She possesses colourful vocals that have shades of vulnerability, laced by a breathy falsetto. It can also be raw, powerful, and erratic, which on more than one occasion stunned the unsuspecting crowd.

We caught glimpses of her life through songs from her EP ‘The Life of Montaigne’, such as A Cinematic Plea For An End and I’m A Fantastic Wreck. We walk alongside her as she recounts the strangeness of discovering reciprocated love for the first time, and the realities of her un-cinematic life. The cherry on top of this performance however was the earworm pop track I Am Not An End.Montaigne gave the audience a high with her trippy melodies and pop hooks, so much so that withdrawals set in when she left stage.

Next up were the dreamy Art of Sleeping. Don’t let the name fool you, this band will without a doubt wake you up. This Brisbane born indie-rockers were “bloody” ecstatic to be performing in their hometown, and clearly put their best foot forward. The performance ranged from smashing rock to melting melodies, characterised by creeping piano scales, a variety of guitar tones, and rolling drumming. They played most of their repertoire, from oldies like Empty Hands to newbies I Could Make You Happy and Crazy. But, I would be lying if I said the crowd weren’t getting restless. After two hours of waiting, we were well and truly ready for the main act.

Boy & Bear cruised on stage and without any introduction hit the nail on the head with the opening numbers. Over their hour and a half set we chanted the old songs and welcomed the new. Lordy May and Feeding Line had us in a frenzy, whistling and bashing the earth with our feet. Honestly at times it looked like a hoedown. New tracks such as Shutdown and Man Alone also had the fresh fans grooving. But, the dancing was far from over. As everyone knows after the success of Fall At Your Feet, nobody does covers better than Boy & Bear. However, that song has been done to death, so we were treated to their newest Like A Version cover, Back To Black. Their rock twist on the soul hit bowled us over. I wouldn’t go so far to say that it’s better than the original, but it’s pretty damn close.

He may dance awkwardly when he’s unarmed without his guitar, but Dave Hosking’s vocals are exulting. The tumbling drums, striking instrumental swells and combinations complement him perfectly. Their performance of Harlequin Dream is a primary example, as it was lit with a masterful saxophone solo. Crowd pleasers Bridges, Rabbit Song, Southern Sun, and Golden Jubilee also ignited the night. As the night drew to a close, we were left wanting more after their final number Walk The Wire. It triggered a deafening singalong with every single person at the sold-out show shouting the lyrics.

I’m not going to lie, I was holding out for Fall At Your Feet. But nevertheless, Boy & Bear were extraordinary. Their passion, engaging stage presence and ARIA award winning music will always make for an all-star show. Now the band is taking their swelling folk melodies and harmonies overseas. Europe is next, and they’re in for a treat!

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