The last time I was at this, a refurbished quite literal tram shed, I was sweating about at Idles in March. This was quite different.
Touring their 2019 songs-to-sell-your-house-to third full album, ‘so that you might hear me’, Bear’s Den are playing to a packed Cardiff on bonfire night and the fireworks I pass on the way in are about as raucous as tonight will be. Supported by a short set from three-piece Flyte, about whom I have nothing really to say because I cant remember a thing about them (and I had one shandy), Bears Den take to the stage to a fairly rapturous welcome.
Fuel On The Fire is a gorgeous opening and all it takes for the crowd to get into full sway, touring band member Christoph van der Ven offering a third harmonious vocal. The combination of him and Andrew Davie is like velvet, they’re a vocal Galaxy Caramel or that 1990s Sheridans nanna liqueur… smooth and moreish.
The set takes us through the new record and back to their more folky first. For Blanket of Sorrow and one other*, they take to the respectful crowd and play acoustically.
*My attention was stolen by a fella being sick right next to us. That’s not the distraction though, oh no: the venue tipped a magical powder on it and by the end of the unplugged bit, this puddle had turned to dry solids that could be swept up by a bloody long handled brush and pan! Where the hell was this gear when I had a toddler and ceramic tiles?!
Back to it, set highlights for me were Crow, Auld Wives, Laurel Wreath and the beautiful Agape.
I feel like this is a lazy review and I tried to do better. Its Bear’s Den see, I cant put my finger on it. I should be turned off by their silky, inoffensive, twee, sway music and the fact that I still cant work out if they are or aren’t a christian blessed band. But, I’m not. I love them. Not enough to remember a full set but I do love them, maybe not *in love* with them. Like platonic cousin love, one with a sensible job.
I’m off for a Galaxy Caramel.
Words by Lisa Whiteman.