SXSW 2012 Music: Bear In Heaven at Mohawk

I think it’s fair to say that this review will obviously be bias as I am in love with Bear in Heaven and have been for a couple of years now. With the release of their new album coming up, I Love You, It’s Cool, somehow I have found more love for the psychedelic dance pop trio. I’ve had a chance to explore their new album, even though it doesn’t become available to the public for another month and these guys have officially mastered their sound. With Beast Rest Forth Mouth and even Red Bloom of the Boom, the group seemed almost experimental at times. Their slow tempo was soothing and refreshingly unique but sometimes the songs just couldn’t get one going. With nearly every song on I Love You, It’s Cool, I have found myself repeating songs many times because I just can’t get enough of it and replaying the entire album endlessly because of how catchy it has become. Becoming catchy is not a bad thing for these guys. Their style of baby-making tunes still mix well the dance pop newbies to create a fantastic set list tonight.

The attitude on stage has really grown as well. I saw them a couple of years ago, in fact at this very same place, and their sound blew me away then, but the stage performance left a bit to be desired. Tonight, the trio spent equal amounts of time dancing and entertaining the crowd as well as focusing on the music. Lead Jon Philpot made eye contact with many people in the crowd and began to smile immensely when he realized someone in the crowd was singing the lyrics with him. The crowd’s attention sprung up when “Lovesick Teenager” played. This was the single released from their sophomore album, Beast Rest Forth Mouth. My ears perked up when their newest release, “The Reflection of You”, began to play in the middle of their set. I was interested to see how they would play out the end of the song when the lyrics, “Dance With Me” as in the recording they keep dropping octaves until it’s lower than any human could sing. Playing it live, however, Jon kept it simple and sang the lyrics in a comfortable voice that could easily be sung along to.

The entire set blew me away this time, and the place was packed. There was obviously good buzz about this band, because there was a very good turn out. If you weren’t at this show, you really missed out on a great performance by the whole band. However, Bear in Heaven will be playing many other shows in Austin before SXSW is over. You can find them playing official and unofficial showcases around town for the next three nights. Do yourself a favor and head out to one of these shows.

SXSW Shows:

Roy’s Austin in Austin, TX – Mar 15
Flamingo Cantina in Austin, TX – Mar 15
Mohawk in Austin, TX – Mar 15
Urban Outfitters in Austin, TX – Mar 16
Hometapes’ Friend Island in Austin, TX – Mar 17

photos and story by Angela Davis

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