I’m reasonably confident that I went to see one of the massive-selling bands of the future this evening, at a tiny, damp, mould-on-the-wall venue, just under Brighton Station. Boy and Bear, after two albums, haven’t made a huge splash on the mainstream musical world, although BBC’s 6 Music have introduced many UK listeners to their music and their profile is steadily rising, if their sold-out UK tour is anything to go by. I cracked a joke this evening, to singer, guitarist and songwriter Dave Hosking, that this would be the last time they played in a tiny, damp venue like this… and that they would probably soon be playing medium-sized damp venues soon, however, Boy and Bear are the real deal. They have an intelligent depth that will probably get in the way of making the Radio 1 playlist, but any music lover who sees them will most likely fall deeply in love with their brand of classic, yet contemporary, magnificent rock.
With their lush harmonies and the shimmering solos from talented lead guitarist Killian Gavin (despite him joining the band on the proviso that he didn’t do solos), it’s difficult to watch them and to not be reminded of the huge rock acts of the 1970s. However, one thing Boy and Bear have which wasn’t particularly synonymous with the 1970s is good taste. Their gigs, whilst massively enjoyable, are cheese-free zones. They combine the commercialism of acts like Fleetwood Mac whilst retaining the cool of the Laurel Canyon Americana sound, which is rather a refreshing achievement from an Australian band. There is an unadulterated joy to Boy and Bear’s gigs that instantly wins you over and makes it impossible to wish them anything other than massive success – which I’m confident that they will achieve.
I don’t often see a support act almost equally as striking as the main act, but Eaves, a 22-year old, long haired chap from Greater Manchester armed with nothing other than an acoustic guitar and a quiet, understated demeanour, made a room all in attendance for the main act draw a collective, respective breath for the reverb-soaked voice of a cross between Neil Young and Jeff Buckley. I spoke to Eaves after the gig and he seemed quite happy with the comparison I’d drawn with those artists and told me of his plans for the rest of the year, including The Great Escape festival in Brighton as well as a support slot with Nick Mulvey. Everything about Eaves seemed to suggest that this exceptionally talented young man would end 2014 a lot more well known than he entered it.
It was an immensely enjoyable evening, with not only one, but two, exceptional and highly promising talents. Very rare that you go along to a gig not sure that you’ll enjoy one act and then end up loving not only the main act but also the support act; tonight, however, was such a night. Also, speaking to most of the band afterwards, they’re also really lovely guys, which endears them to you even more. All I can say is that if you want a magnificent evening of music, make sure you go to a Boy and Bear gig… it seems impossibly that anybody could be disappointed, regardless of their expectations. You’ll get a chance to see them when they return to the UK in the Autumn/Winter. Yes, that’s right, when it’s the height of summer in Australia, Boy and Bear will be trawling round cold, damp venues in the UK – now that’s dedication for you.