Review And Interview: Boy & Bear – The King’s Arms, Salford

Boy & Bear are a 5-piece indie-folk band hailing from Australia, bringing a fresh and inimitable style and blend of rich harmonies and deeply layered instrumentals. Having toured with prolific artists such as Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons and Elbow, they have built up their own following and have now embarked on the European leg of their own, headline tour. TFFT caught up with lead vocalist Dave Hosking and guitarist Killian Gavin, who commented on their current tour and their plans for the future, following their fantastic set at the Kings Arms, Salford.

The night opened with fine support from Monument Valley, as the crowd listened intently to his intricate guitar playing and soft singing, stirring scores of emotion in the close quarters of the Salford venue. Playing tracks from his Tongues EP and the stunning new single Your Cover Blown, it was a fitting way to begin the evening’s entertainment.

Boy & Bear then took to the welcoming stage, opening with Lordy May, taken from their new album Moonfire. Sitting comfortably on the stage after their performance, Dave commented on his surroundings, “Coming over here and playing this type of venue is really fresh and really fun!” This was evident throughout their set, as the band interacted well with the audience, in between playing songs from both their EP and debut album. They relished the intimacy of the venue and Killian joked, “Heckling is funny if people pay attention to our music”. Their versatility shone through as band members switched instruments and incorporated mandolin and banjo into their performance, most noticeably in their cover of Fall At Your Feet. Although the sound during this song was slightly marred with a bad pick-up, the band played unfazed and continued their set with the true professionalism of a well seasoned outfit, despite their relative youth.

Their debut album Moonfire has received mixed reviews across the board, but with the tight performances of songs such as Milk And Sticks, Mexican Mavis and Golden Jubilee, it is clearly evident why the band are rapidly building up a strong following across the UK. Dave confessed that they did not have a rigid set list, but this actually played to their strengths as each song flowed well into the next, concluding with a powerful finale of Feeding Line.  Their performance was further enhanced by the unique slideshow which accompanied the music and fully engaged the audience.

All in all, the amount of energy put into the performance took its toll on the band and as they made a swift exit from the stage, leaving the crowd wanting more. Looking forward, Dave explained, “Coming out of Australia, there was so much buzz around the band but it didn’t quite go to plan over here as much as we’d have liked.” Despite this, the band are happy to work on increasing their fanbase, with three more shows in the UK, then a trip to Germany, before heading back home to Australia in the hope of raising their profile in Europe. We would certainly wish to see this modest bunch of lads back in the UK in the not too distant future and do not doubt that they’ll return to a big welcome, following the inevitable success of Moonfire.

Martyn Kuziw