Live Review: Eliza and the Bear @ The Duchess, York 15/02/16

Eliza and the Bear delivered a flawless five-star performance to the warm Duchess crowd, write

PHOTO: elizaandthebear.com

PHOTO: elizaandthebear.com

Rating: ★★★★★

Eliza And The Bear are an indie folk pop quintet who, despite the name suggests, don’t have any members named Eliza nor do they have a bear. Forming in 2011 and then named ‘one of the UK’s most promising bands’ by The Guardian, the dynamic, all male band have had nothing but positive reviews for their hearty and catchy sounds. Starting the night at The Duchess with enthusiasm, Eliza And The Bear jumped straight into the well loved Lion’s Heart.

The atmosphere in The Duchess on a frosty Monday evening was of buzzing high spirits even in the preamble to the main event.  Both supports were suitably fitting and well received by the York audience, creating positive vibes in the dark, low ceilinged yet weirdly cosy underground venue.

Michael Cassidy, a Scotsman with an acoustic guitar settled the audience in with alternative acoustic folk. Speaking to Cassidy after the set, he said the atmosphere in The Duchess and warmth from the audience was what made it such a great night of music. Into the Ark then came onto stage who pushed a more upbeat vibe with a 25 minute set and soulful acoustic noise.

Eliza And The Bear kept the audience dancing throughout their set, and not letting their own enthusiasm drop throughout the evening, played the tunes we all know and sing along to from their 2015 EP Make It On My Own as well as indulging us with new tracks from their upcoming album. The anticipated, self titled, debut album will be released in April 2016.  The new tracks seem promising and it’s likely to see this quintet working their way around the festivals come the summer.

With a flawless stage presence every member of the audience and of the band was definitely having a good time. There was no clumsiness from the band, no awkwardness from the audience and each song passed seamlessly into the next, with front man James Kellegher occasionally saying a few words, or getting the lively audience to light up the stage with phone torches as they play the slightly grittier Make It On My Own.

Coming to the end of set Kellegher told the audience that they would play one more song, everyone would clap, the band would leave, the audience would chant something catchy and Eliza and the Bear would come back on and play ‘that song that everyone knows for being on BBC Radio 1 and that TV advert.’ In an effort to become amusingly self aware, and ‘avoid the pretentious encore charade’ both the audience and the band followed suit and the next 10 minutes happened as dictated. The encore ended on the well-known Friends and the appropriate It Gets Cold. The lyrics ‘I’m on my way back home’ signaled the end of the night after an energetic and enjoyable performance.

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