Bears Den live at Free At Noon | Photo by: Tiana Timmerberg
Free at Noon Flashback: Bear’s Den Proves Themselves to be an Obvious Standout in Today’s Folk Rock Scene
Based on their super casual demeanor and lead singer Andrew Davie’s repeatedly thanking the crowd for attending- you would never know that UK-based duo Bear’s Den accumulates an impressive 1 million listeners per month on Spotify.
The duo, consisting of Andrew Davie as the lead vocalist/guitarist and the multi-instrumental Kev Jones, was backed by an impressive four man band at today’s Free at Noon concert. The band was promoting their sophomore album Red Earth and Pouring Rain which was released on July 22. With the rise in popularity of folk-rock, it is easy for Americana inspired bands to get overlooked because of the influx of other groups also falling into this genre. Not Bear’s Den, Davies put a truly poetic spin on the typical themes of lost love and navigating adulthood. Lyrics like “There will still be a trace of our love left behind in the dew upon the vine” from Dew on the Vine and “I was too young to understand the flowers slipping from your hands” from their international hit Above the Clouds of Pompeii were enough to catch the ear of any prose enthusiasts in the crowd. Onlookers was mesmerized for the entirety of the thirty-minute set. Not a sound was made anywhere in the room except in between songs at which time the crowd enthusiastically whistled and cheered for the bashful men on stage.
Bear’s Den proved that they were not the kind of group to grow complacent in their success when Davies announced that they would perform the typically acoustic guitar driven track Gabriel with banjos instead. He noted to the crowd that it was an “incredibly difficult” song to play on the banjo, but they pulled it off without the slightest mistake. This would be a persisting theme in the show. At one point each of the musicians picked up a different instrument than the one he had started with- the drummer grabbed a trumpet as did the keyboardist, each guitarist made the switch from banjo to acoustic to bass to electric guitar at least once. An impressive part of the show to say the least.
My aha moment was when the boys began to play the second-to-last song in their set and I began to absentmindedly sing along. I hadn’t yet connected that Bear’s Den was behind the super catchy ballad Above the Clouds of Pompeii. I guarantee that at some point you have heard this song, but if you haven’t- go take a listen (seriously, do it right now). At the end of their set, the crowd (myself included) seemed to wake from a trance that was fueled by Davie’s sugary lyrics and deep-rooted feelings of nostalgia.
If you are interested in seeing Davies pour out the contents of his diary on stage in front of a group of strangers in the most dignified way possible (while accompanied by a group of exceptional musicians) you’ll have to buy tickets pretty far in advance, most of their North American tour dates are already sold out. One such event is their show tonight at Philly music venue MilkBoy. For those of you lucky enough to have a ticket, Congrats! For those of you who don’t have one, keep an eye on their website for upcoming tour dates near you.
1. Red Earth & Pouring Rain
5. The Love We Stole
6. Dew on the Vine
7. Above the Clouds of Pompeii