Bear’s Den Enchants Chicago With Their Humble and Harmony-Heavy Set, Featuring a Special Guest
Photos by Emily Nava
Right around 9PM on Friday night, Andrew Davie and Kev Jones (aka Bear's Den) made their way onto the Thalia Hall stage with a full band, opening with the title track of their latest album Red Earth & Pouring Rain. For the next hour and half, the Pilsen crowd remained enthralled by the London band. Lead singer Andrew Davie immediately revealed the band’s gracious and modest attitude, thanking everyone before moving into playing “Emeralds,” another newer track from the second album. Kev and Andrew both exhibited great chemistry on stage with each other and their other band members, at times pulling away from their microphones to jam together in the middle of the stage.
As the set moved along, Andrew introduced crowd favorite “Stubborn Beast,” saying it’s a song they wrote a really long time ago and never quite figured out how to play it live. Despite Andrew’s pre-song confession, the song sounded incredible live and the audience loved it. For the next song, “Isaac,” the crowd joined in on the singing, adding even more depth to the beautiful harmonies in the song. After giving props to the audience for their beautiful singing, the band said they’d like to try something new by doing their song “Don’t Let The Sun Steal You Away” completely unplugged. With absolutely no amplification, the band had the audience completely wrapped around their fingers during this song.
The dynamic 90-minute set rolled on with a high-energy performance of “The Love We Stole” from Bear’s Den first album. The second half of the set remained diverse, with a good chunk of songs coming from the new album, and a few older songs sprinkled in. Kev, Andrew, and their bandmates remained gracious and charming too, at one point getting a lot of cheers when they successfully did the bottle flip challenge. Winding down the night, the band played their popular song “Above The Clouds of Pompeii” before walking off stage.
The band returned for an incredible four song encore, featuring an in-crowd and unplugged performance of “Gabriel,” and the lovely addition of backing vocals from the crowd. The highlight had to be when Andrew welcomed the brilliant Jack Garratt onto the stage to help them sing a Chicago-customer cover song. On this tour, Bear’s Den have been showing off their incredible musicianship by learning a new cover song every night, specific to the city. For this show, the band and special guest Jack Garratt performed none other than “Chicago” by Sufjan Stevens. So many bands stick to the same setlist every night, so this custom cover adds something different to each show and allows for the band to have some fun with their favorite songs.
Definitely go see Bear's Den for a one-of-a-kind evening full of talent and great energy! You can find all of their upcoming tour dates here.
Red Earth & Pouring Rain
Don't Let the Sun Steal You Away
The Love We Stole
Roses On a Breeze
Love can’t stand alone
Dew on the Vine
When You Break
Above the Clouds of Pompeii
(Sufjan Stevens cover)