It’s been a pretty big year for acoustic three-piece Bear’s Den. And while that may sound like another reuse to get you totally amped about the band, frankly, it would be hard to verbalise their efforts otherwise. Following the release of their euphoric debut EP Agape, the band have gone on to unveil their next installment, Without/Within, building on the soaring harmonies that made us return their heartfelt crooning earlier this year. Now, the band are nearing the end of their headline UK tour and on the verge of sounding like a group ready to reflect their anthemic sounds with the capacities to match.
Taking to the stage of Shoreditch’s Village Underground, the three-piece open with Without/Within‘s ‘Sahara’, a well-known offering to the evidently keen (and many) followers of the band. The song provides an idyllic opening to the evening, building from a hushed whisper to crashing percussion, before a breakout guitar solo remind us just how much the band enjoy performing live. Lead by the husky vocals of frontman Andrew Davie, the band consistently invite draw-dropping admiration to a loved-up crowd, partaking in a seemingly hot choice for East London date nights. And with a soundtrack like this, you can see why this would provide the perfect setting.
The band recruit the addition of the trusty banjo for ‘Mother’, a country-tinged amalgamation from the three musicians, plucking away at a track fueled by heartfelt lyricism, before swiftly breaking into their debut title-track ‘Agape’. There are moments beneath the atmospheric harmonising on these ballads that make it easy to draw comparisons to their vocal doppalganger, aka Bon Iver, but the similarities more than surpass the band’s bearded looks. Much Like Justin ‘heartthrob’ Vernon did with For Emma Forever Ago, Bear’s Den relocated to record their debut EP, only instead of an desolate cabin in Wisconsin, the band resided in a Welsh cottage. It’s no wonder then, that the desolate sound resonates throughout their performance, transcending the ambiance to an isolated countryside and brought to life with foot-stomping riffs.
Before the trio are ready to part with the evening’s entrancement, Davie reminds us how grateful they are to be performing under the high-ceilings of Village Underground, “This one of the most amazing experiences of our life. We would like to play you some more songs if that is alright?” Obviously, this is more than alright and break into ‘Don’t Let The Sun Steal You Away’, before leaving the stage for a much deserved pre-encore cool down. AND THEN, the best thing ever happened…