|Hunter & The Bear – London, British Grove Studios – 12 April 2017|
|Written by Jim Rowland|
|Wednesday, 19 April 2017 04:00|
Many of us that have dabbled in music making over the years will have frequented several recording studios, but not many of us will have frequented a studio as plush and impressive as British Grove Studios in West London, owned by none other than Mark Knopfler. It even houses the desk that The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ was recorded on!
This auspicious venue has been chosen to host a select showcase for London rockers Hunter & The Bear as they prepare to release their debut album ‘Paper Heart’ on 12 May. Despite not yet having released a full length album, these guys have plenty of live experience under their belts, having toured the UK as a headline act in the clubs, appeared at festivals such as Reading, Leeds and T In The Park, and played prestigious supports to the likes of Eric Clapton, Van Morrison and Simple Minds. They take their influences not just from the old guard like Zeppelin, Sabbath and Floyd, but more contemporary acts like Biffy Clyro, Royal Blood and Rival Sons too.
The select few in attendance here tonight are treated to a generous helping of beers, wines & spirits as the band mingle to add some insight into the forthcoming album, and answer any questions. A very nice bunch of guys they are too. Soon enough, they assemble with instruments in hand to play a couple of tunes in stripped down format. The guitars are still electric, albeit turned down to a much lesser volume than they would normally be used to, the drums are tapped out very nicely on ‘broomstick’ sticks for a more subtle delivery, and vocals are projected without the need for microphones. Indeed the thing that strikes me the most is the quality of the vocals, especially the perfect harmonies.
The first song performed is a real catchy cracker, ‘Oh Daisy’, that won’t actually appear on the album, but the second, ‘Won’t You Ever Come Home’, does feature. Both are hugely impressive and very well received, so much so that the only complaint from the crowd here is that they only left it at two songs and didn’t do a few more. Still, that’s a good sign.
The mingling continues as the album is played over the speaker system, which on a first listen should turn a few heads upon its release next month. Hunter & The Bear are a band we will be hearing about a lot more in the coming months and years. As the album is released next month, the guys will be on a quite extensive tour of Scotland, taking in cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow as well as more remote locations such as Stornoway and Shetland, before they hit the road in England the following month. On the evidence of tonight’s brief performance, they will be gigs well worth checking out.
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