Julia and I have an idea to start a Tumblr that collects all of our favorite bands that have woodland creatures in their names (no one steal that idea OK, it’s actually something we are going to do) and Bear’s Den will be well represented there I’m sure, especially after their really spectacular show last night at Schubas, which combined a lot of my favorite things: British men, banjos, Chicago landmarks, men belting, folk music, and artsy covers of stupid pop songs (I’ll explain.)
First, they had an opener – The Districts, who were good, but very loud (kind of an odd match with Bear’s Den) – we got there a little late so I didn’t get to see their whole set, but for the length of time I was there one of their members never showed his face:
Then it was time for Bear’s Den!
Their name is perfectly fitting:
I knew from their EPs (which are excellent and available on Spotify and YouTube) that they had beautiful songs that tended toward the sad (but as the lead singer last night “there’s hope in the sadness.)
What was I wasn’t expecting was the power of their voices especially in a room as intimate as Schubas it felt like their harmonies were hitting me in the chest, in the best way:
was their amazing musicianship, the banjo player also plays guitar, the lead singer picks classical guitar style, and the drummer plays the drums and the bass (I think it’s a bass) at the same time:
They were also had great stage banter, and again because of the size of the room, it felt like an actual conversation at times. The downside of that kind of venue is that Schubas doesn’t really have a backstage, so when they left for the “encore” they just hid behind a pillar, which was the dorkiest-best solution to that problem:
Then the encore itself, was one of the best things that has ever happened to me at a concert. They came down into the crowd, this close to me:
And sang this song:
And I was shaking it was so beautiful.
I feel like these guys have real potential to be huge, and I am so glad I saw them when they’re still playing rooms this small.