By Cassie Osvatics
U.K. folk rock band Bear’s Den performed to an emotionally charged crowd at their early show at U Street Music Hall Saturday night. The band, nearly done with the North American half of their tour, released their second album, Red Earth & Pouring Rain, in July of 2016.
Opening for Bear’s Den was solo artist Gill Landry, a Louisiana native. Landry set the the tone for the show with sultry acoustic tones and some deeply personal lyrics. For the majority of his set, Landry played his own music with a cover of “The Old Revolution” by Leonard Cohen, earning him a great deal of praise from the audience as someone shouted for him to repeat his name.
Before playing his final song, “Bad Love,” the soloist apologized for being “depressing as fuck” since getting on stage.
“What is happy?” Landray asked the crowd. “I’d rather be content.”
Bear’s Den began their set with the title track from their album, “Red Earth & Pouring Rain,” a song inspired by a Sembula Peyaneerar poem. This song was followed by “Emeralds” from RE&PR and the ever emotional and powerful “Elysium” from their first album, Islands, which inevitably left me in tears.
But because the show was indeed an emotional rollercoaster, they soon got the crowd laughing when they dedicated their song “Stubborn Beast” to a security guard who turned down an amp at their show the night before.
Continuing this rollercoaster, the band later went from performing “Don’t Let The Sun Steal You Away,” completely stripped down acoustic even down to the mics, picking the mood back up with “The Love We Stole” as the entire band smiled throughout the song.
The band joined the crowd a few songs later to perform acoustic once again for their song “Gabriel.” As the audience belted out the lyrics in perfect unison and harmony, they became much more powerful. The sound of it was inspiring and nearly indescribable.
Once Bear’s Den resettled on stage, they fulfilled their promise to cover a song by someone from D.C. as requested by their fans. They chose to perform a soulful, gritty and beautifully unique rendition of Marvin Gaye’s “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” Lead singer Andrew Davie expressed how nervous they were to be performing the song saying, “It’s by one of the greatest singers … we’d like to say, it’s been nice.”
The band closed out the show, once again fully acoustic with their song “Agape.”
As their North American tour comes to a close, we here at The Writer’s Bloc will be giving away a t-shirt and trucker hat to one lucky fan in the D.C. area. Just tweet using the hashtag #BlocBearsDen by Feb. 12 to enter!
Featured Photo Credit: Andrew Davie (left, lead vocals and guitar) and Kevin Jones (vocals, drums, guitar and bass, right) of Bear’s Den perform at U Street Music Hall. Pictured in back, middle is their touring bassist and guitarist. (Cassie Osvatics/Bloc Reporter)
Cassie Osvatics is a senior English major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.