Bear in Heaven deliver at The Bay Brewed Rock & Roll Beer Festival


Bear in Heaven, touring currently in promotion of their new album I Love You, It’s Cool, made their only west coast stop this past weekend at the Bay Brewed Rock and Roll Beer Festival.

Headlining the event’s second annual bill, Bear in Heaven played an intimate set for local fans saturated in the finest craft brews from around the Bay Area. Highlighting songs off of their latest release and their 2010 LP Beast Rest Forth Mouth, the band catered to a small crowd that was probably filtered out by the inconvenient weather and previous 5 hours of unlimited tastings.


Public Works, which is known for large scale electronic shows, art installations and burning man decompressions is a venue that many indie rock outfits might find difficult to command. However, other than the few sound glitches in the opening tracks of the set, Bear in Heaven was able to hold even the most distracted of audience member’s attention.


Jon Philpot’s vocals were pristine, and the band’s encompassing arrangements filled the space effortlessly. Philpot’s presence as a lead singer and multi-instrumentalist was impressive yet understated, allowing for the entire band to share the spotlight equally. Amidst his escalating crescendos and sassy dance moves, the band performed as a finely-tuned minimalist unit. Bear in Heaven delivering a performance that was equal parts professionally executed and an intimate jam session. The band seemed to derive as much joy playing for the audience as they did for each other.

The three-piece produces a sound that when listened to on record, seems like a large scale production. I was pleasantly surprised to watch a mostly stripped down set, absent of excessive frills and lighting distractions. The focus was on the band’s varied instrumentation and musicianship, and this was evident during their execution of tracks such as “Sinful Nature” & “Beast in Peace.”


Bear in Heaven entranced the audience through audible resonation over dramatic visual inundation. They kept their fans entertained simply by performing material rather than hiding behind a curtain of smoke and lights. It won’t be long before they end up playing larger venues, and I’ll be stoked to have caught them in this intimate environment.

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