With contemporaries like Mumford & Sons and Ben Howard, you would think that Bear’s Den must be doing something right. The British alt-folk trio were in town this past Friday for a sold out show at the Mod Club.
Making his Toronto debut, Christof’ vibrant melancholia suffered what plagues most singer-songwriters: becoming background noise. Armed with just a guitar, the mellow tunes, coupled with a reclusive on-stage persona, soon became secondary being drowned out by chatter from the back rows. Those closer to the stage experienced a talent whose resonant voice brought life into the slower paced nature of the songs. Set closer ‘Empty Handed’ was a perky surprise, with guest guitar play from Bear’s Den Andrew Davie.
Packed show doesn’t guarantee you fans that are there only for the music. For some, Bear’s Den show was just a regular Friday night. Despite having to battle chatter noise and heckles, Andrew Davie and his army of bearded Brits wowed those who cared. Playing tunes off their notable debut Island, the band showcased their impressive musicality. On top of the astutely balanced sound, the live inclusion of horns in ‘Pompeii’ and ‘Elysium’ added to the larger-than life personalities of the singles. Not to be outdone by instruments alone, the British trio showed off their vocal chops during a completely unplugged version of ‘Bad Blood’ performed in the crowd. Amidst roaring cheers while introducing ‘Agape’ as the set closer, the all-smiles Davie promised to return soon. Next time, Toronto, maybe you should be on your best behaviour.