Australian folk/indie band Boy & Bear played at the iconic Commodore Ballroom with Stu Larsen as their opener.
Stu had a voice that felt like a lullaby washing over the crowd. His style was aptly suited to Boy & Bear fans and his mellow vibes created a gentle sway that felt soft and soothing to everyone that arrived early.
Without aplomb, Boy & Bear entered the stage shortly after Larsen‘s final song to begin their set. David Hosking‘s vocals were moody, sounding like something straight from a record. There was a gritty soulfulness that added depth to each song, something that needs to be heard live rather than on an mp3 recording.
Their set consisted of old interspersed within new tracks. Their latest album “Suck On Light” was released five days before the concert, with Hosking introducing the title song to the crowd proudly. One lucky fan at the front was handed a bright orange vinyl pressing of the album, Hosking explained that even the band hadn’t received their own copies.
Killian Gavin‘s guitar work was simple but soulful, the rest of the band playing beautifully to create the sort of dreamy atmosphere that suited the songs. Hosking had a way of delivering the lyrics to each song, as if telling a story for the first time. The moodiness of the lighting show matched the warm fall/autumn sentiment that had settled over Vancouver on this grey, drizzly night.
The backing vocals and harmonies of all the band members melded into one voice, creating a warmth to meet Hosking‘s solidarity in his bold vocals.
During song changes, several of the members were seen drinking beers on stage, making the concert feel more like an intimate backyard show rather than a large theatre performance.
Once Boy & Bear had finished their set they left the stage, only to return moments later to perform the encore fans patiently waited for. David announced that they had never done encore’s in the past and that this tour was their first time trying it out.
Finishing with four more songs, midway through the encore Stu Larsen was invited back on stage. A hush fell over the crowd as people knew they were about to hear a fan favourite. Jonathan Hart‘s iconic banjo riff signalled the beginning of Boy & Bear‘s most famous cover from Melbourne band, Crowded House. “Fall At Your Feet“ was a treat to hear live, the harmonies were nothing short of breathtaking, with every member joining in, including an impressive show from Tim Hart, playing both drums and vocals in unison.
Review/Photos: Melissa Riemer
The chill in the air on September 28th seemed fitting to welcome the Icelandic band Of Monsters And Men to Vancouver for their first show in three years. If you’re a devoted reader of 987 then this band needs absolutely no introduction.
With lights down and nervous cheers rising up, Thunderbird Arena at UBC took on an almost ethereal, church-like feeling. Slow viking tones wavered over the crowd as the five band members took their positions in near darkness. With just the soulful high notes crying out from Brynjar Leifsson‘s guitar, he was joined by the underlying bass of Kristján Páll Kristjánsson before everything else came crashing into place in perfect precision.
Nanna Bryndis Hulmardottir threw the band into their first song “Alligator” which comes from their latest album “Fever Dream“. Her energetic singing and presence set off the Vancouver show, creating a playful atmosphere.
A huge eye from the cover of Fever Dream hung at the back of stage, looking out over the crowd with a watchful stare. The stage was awash with red and white lighting, the songs moving from upbeat to the more soulful offerings from their older albums. Nanna was a true joy to watch while she would jump back and forth between playfully beating the drums alongside Arnar Rósenkranz Hilmarsson, then running to the front of the stage with her guitar and vocals that cut crystal clear across the arena. Ragnar Porhallsson had the sort of soothing voice that felt like you were being played a lullaby softly.
The band’s dynamic played out well on stage and the lighting was perfectly matched with the emotion of each song. The band’s drummer, Arnar, was like a meerkat constantly standing atop his drum kit to engage with the crowd, while still playing with his feet. As if begging not to be forgotten behind his hulking drum-kit, he would clap his sticks high in the air to get the crowd going.
When slower songs were played, almost everyone in the venue raised their phone flashlights to create and ethereal feeling that matched Nanna’s soulful musings. She commented that the sentiment had not gone unnoticed, saying she was almost moved to tears by the show of solidarity with their songs.
The band left the stage for several minutes, before coming back to play four more songs that had the entire stadium singing along. Nanna ran into the crowd guided by a flashlight, skipping in a full circle before climbing back onto stage to finish the set.
Vancouver was the last leg of their five week North American tour, the band now sets sail for Ireland to begin their UK Tour.
Review: Melissa Riemer
Photos: Louis Lay