Returning with their highly anticipated third album Limit of Love, Boy & Bear are on the road again, touring Australia and the world. On their second leg of their travels they performed at Festival Hall with the support of Art of Sleeping and Montaigne.
Montaigne exhibited potential during an enthusiastic performance of her singles Clip My Wings and I’m a Fantastic Wreck. While she showed off an impressive vocal range and control it was unfortunate that her lyrics were often indistinguishable while her physical presence was frequently peppered with awkward movements. Montaigne’s on stage persona is only lacking a more consistent level of energy and verbal clarity to raise the bar.
Art of Sleeping is a difficult band to critique. While their performance was adequate and at no point unpleasant, they simply failed to really stand out as a unit. Front man, Caleb Hodges, seemed far too certain in their reputation proceeding themselves, taking little effort to banter with the crowed. When he did, Hodges come across as cocky and eager to see the end of the night. Not a particularly great mix for a stage presence. Guitarist, Patrick Silver however, was a stand out with some exceptionally effortless shreds that invigorated the audience.
By the end of set, Festival Hall, one of Melbourne’s largest venues with a capacity of almost 5,500 seated and standing was almost full. Those standing in front of the stage were brimming with excitement.
Greeted with thunderous screams and applause, Boy & Bear opened their performance with their latest album’s opening track Limit of Love. The professionalism and skill from the entire band were noticeable from the start. They are band that sound on stage, exactly how they sound on their albums. Considering Limit Of love was predominately live recorded, this shouldn’t be surprising but it is appreciated.
Lead man, Dave Hoskings, swanned around the stage in an almost absent minded effortlessness, as if he just happened to chance upon the night every time someone was supposed to sing, flawless he nailed ever note. This whole perception brought a certain charm to this overall enigmatic performance.
Drummer, Tim Hart was possibly the biggest character of the night. Taking the time to show appreciation and respect for their fellow musicians who supported them. Something that should be happening far more frequently before proceeding to call out Hoskings birthday. Much to his apparent dismay, Hart encouraged the entire crowed to sing happy birthday to the awkward singer. Only to be immediately followed by one of their darkest songs of the set Showdown.
Boy & Bear treated us to their Like A Version’s Back To Black by the late and great Amy Winehouse. Respectfully paying tribute to an amazing artist while still successfully imbuing it with their own particular sound. The crowed loved it.
Boy & Bear provided an excellent medley of their latest album and everyone’s favourite hits. Tight knit, polished and full of fun energy. Mercifully sparing us the ego jerk-off that is the encore, they happily stayed on stage to perform one last song for the adoring crowd. They did not disappoint their fans as they all simultaneously let loose on their instruments in their final act and closed with a saxophonist of unknown name that absolutely smashed the closer of the night. Boy & Bear, you knocked it out of the “park”.