100 Shows of 2010 - #3: Bear In Heaven @ Rock’n’Roll Hotel, 3/6/10

I was oh so very excited about seeing Bear In Heaven live. On record, they are so very good. I was hoping they’d somehow manage to be even better up on the stage at the old Rock’n’Roll Hotel, and sure enough they were. While the band was magnificent, the crowd and sound left something to be desired. Can’t have everything, I guess.

MINI RECAP: Bear In Heaven = unbelievable. Overall score: A.

It was crowded at the Hotel for the show. Very, very, very crowded. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen the place so packed from wall to wall, and I’ve been to several sold out shows there. I suppose it was to be expected, given the bill (not only Bear In Heaven but Freelance Whales and Cymbals Eat Guitars as well). But hot damn. It was so crowded that I didn’t have enough personal space to whip out the ole notebook for notation purposes. Thank the lord for the notepad function on cell phones, eh? From a journalistic standpoint, and personal space standpoint, I sure do wish the show had been at the Black Cat instead.

Complaining ends there. Because, you see, Bear In Heaven was so dang good that they could have played the itty bittiest little choked-up hole in the wall and I would have been in musical bliss. I’d cautiously entertain the notion that this is a band that’s even better live than they are recorded (they probably should get moving on a live album if you ask me). There’s something raw to them live, they’ve got a little more attitude. All four of them came out with their game faces on, and were pretty intense for the duration of their ten-song set. It was a wild, madcap swirl of a set, filling eardrums with funky, big beaty, psychy, electrogasmic insanity. And oh mercy, was it loud. It was like being punched in the face with a big bastard wall of noise. And it was beautiful. Bear In Heaven was completely hypnotic, and if I had had the room to dance around like a woman possessed I would have done it.

Despite a few issues with the sound (at times it was a little too muddled, and the bass was maybe just a little too loud on a few songs), the entire set was sensational. And I’ll remember the eternal line uttered by the band midway through their set: “Moustaches Forever.” A wonderful, hilarious sentiment. I’ve had them in my head pretty much non-stop since the show, “Wholehearted Mess” in particular with that mesmerizing beat and the cheeky drum break. I think it’s safe to declare Bear In Heaven one of my new favorite live bands. Take my advice, friends, if you have the chance, make sure you go and see them live. You’ll thank me.

mp3: Wholehearted Mess (Bear in Heaven from Beast Rest Forth Mouth)


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