Bear Hands opened up for Foals on November 4 at United Palace Theatre. Currently, on tour with the UK band, Bear Hands matched perfectly the angst filled/ tension releasing sounds of Foals. Their rock is a mixture of 90’s garage grunge, where flannel, fun, and a little bit of self- destruction/ pity were considered the youthful norms. Thus, Bear Hands felt like a Millennial “Back To The Future”, where they transported their audience to a timed “in-between: to reveal that the same, young stresses off the 90’s seem to match the 2010’s, as well.
Before I review their sound, let me say what, instantly, impressed me of Bear Hands: how the grabbed the attention of the audience. When you are the opening act to a band as rich and followed as Foals, it is not easy to magnetize what seems like “their audience”. Yes, there were loyal Bear Hands’ fans, but their performance was the type that garnered new ones. Every single Foals’ fan was savoring the seconds that led to the headlining band, but when Bear Hands hit the stage, by song 2, the audience was like,”Foals Who?”. I say this in truth and seriousness. By the end of their performance, the young woman sitting next to me, whom was a “die-hard” Foals’ fan wearing their merchandise, got up out of her seat and bought a Bear Hands t-shirt. I asked her if she was a fan of the band and she said, “Yeah, it’s my first time hearing them. They are really good!”. She felt so connected to their performance that she bought their shirt after one listen! Now I know this story I have told you is not the most exciting nor one that will converted into an oscar-winning film, but what it means is poignant for both Bear Hands and their future. They have the dynamic energy that reminds fans, in general, that there are plenty of bands to love, and Bear Hands should be one of them. This is the strength/ talent needed to continue to rise in the music mainstream until you are headlining your own tour.
Bear Hands’ captured the crowd with their cool, Brooklyn ease.which is their hometown. The quartet definitely had the breezy, artful swag that Brooklyn is known for with lead singer Dylan Rau casual spirit captivating attention. Whether he had to lie on the floor and do a near head-stand or randomly start hop-scotching mid-song, there was a spontaneous fun to Dylan Rau. You never knew what note or move he was going to do out of pure sentiment. That burgeoning, bust of energy is what dominates Brooklyn’s art scene, and its the genuineness of that zest that makes Rau memorable. His connection to music is childlike in that it is innocent and pure. He does what he wants in the moment to serve what he feels his own music is emotionally offering him. Hence the hopscotching or lying down is just a physical manifestation of what Bear Hands’ sonics stir in Rau.
There is a careful carelessness to Bear Hands’ that charmed audiences. Yes, I know that is a paradox, “careful carelessness”, but let me explain. These guys are excellent musicians and planned every chord to strike the anarchy and anger that can fill a person when they are young. Their music is specifically geared for those youthful instances when you just feel like if life is not going to go right or your way then you are going to act like their is no such thing as “life”. Instead, all you have is the present moment to go WILD! The crowd loved the freeing atmosphere Bear Hands’ indie-rock riffs, Rau’s 90’s vibratto vocals, and lyrics of social alienation/ doubt brought to the theater. Now you may not think that words on social doubt and frustration will attract a liberating vibe, but when you add a punk-rock guitar melodies with a grunge inspired bass and drums, you feel like music is your equal outcast.
When your young you both want power and feel oppressed by it, and Bear Hands have created songs that speak to that sentiment in word and sound. They have blended punk, grunge, and garage/indie that resonates with the 90’s in sonic delivery, but is timeless in message: when life feels like a burden then party like its a blessing. Sometimes, living life like it is bliss will actually make you feel its euphoria, to which Bear Hands’ certainly makes you feel. For More Information on Bear Hands’ Click Here.