Bear In Heaven – Deaf Institute, Manchester – 22nd April 2010

Posted on April 25, 2010


written for High Voltage

Tonight saw yet another Brooklyn-based band descend upon The Deaf Institute and provide an impressive display of musical ability. Bear In Heaven are little known in the UK at present, but expect them to become more widely recognised in the not too distant future. They create vast musical landscapes that contain psychedelic undercurrents, and the quality of their approach suggests that they are set to join the pantheon of inspiring acts from Brooklyn’s independent music scene that have made such an impact in recent times.

Bear In Heaven display an ambitious sound with huge amounts of dynamic and this ensures that they impress and entertain in equal measure. Within each song there is a diverse array of elements but they expertly manage to package their sound with coherence and consistency. It all works wonderfully well and they demonstrated here that they could become a real force in music. Their use of synth adds an eerie feel to proceedings and the effortless yet exhilarating vocal displayed by lead singer Jon Philpot is quite spectacular to witness. Philpot, who has an impressive overall range, often sings in a very high register, but he does it with such ease that it is a stunning constituent of the band’s performance. He also injects much emotion into his delivery and this is a note-worthy aspect of his stage presence. They showed clearly that they are also able to integrate pop influences into their intricate songs. ‘You Do You’ and ‘Lovesick Teenagers’ are the two that particularly resonated well, with their catchy and memorable melodies.

Their compositions are sometimes very unusual, with the pace and rhythm of a track changing numerous times within a song, and this means that they are carving out a very distinct artistic identity. A special mention should be reserved for drummer Joe Stickney, whose outstanding drumming skills are the bedrock on which their varied compositions are built. He is a powerful drummer who provides spectacular rolls and fills that are enthralling to listen to.

Bear In Heaven are now set to continue their tour of the UK and Europe, before returning to the US to play across the East Coast. Their latest album, Beast Rest Forth Mouth, is their second long player to date, and it may just be the one that catapults them to success, and with performances such as tonight’s, one would expect crowds to increase from here on in.

Set List –

Beast in Peace

Ultimate Satisfaction

Wholehearted Mess

Fake Out

Bag of Bags

Dust Cloud

Lovesick Teenagers

Deafening Love

Drug a Wheel

You Do You

Casual Goodbye

photography by Sam Ellis

Posted in: Music