Out and About: Bear in Heaven
    • FRIDAY, MAY 11, 2012

    • Posted by: Malcolm Donaldson

    We caught Bear in Heaven Wednesday night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, in the homestretch of a North American tour, backed by openers Doldrums and Blouse. The raucous night could be wrapped up by lead singer Jon Philpot's message to the audience: "Feel free to shake it on this one. No one minds a loose caboose." The crowd was into it through the whole night, dancing and chanting along to each group.

    Both Doldrums and Blouse were a blend of different current genres, so I thought I would provide a recipe for each band's cocktail in lieu of a traditional review. Here it goes:

    The Doldrum
    - 2 scoops tropical island ice cream
    - 1 cup brackish swamp water
    - 1 crushed rare Panda Bear 7"
    - A dropper of Kurt Cobain's tears
    - 5 hits of acid

    Directions: Strain, shake from the hips

    The Blouse
    - 3 handfuls of reverb
    - A bottle of high-end gin
    - A dash of The Cure, to adequate taste
    - Fresh mint leaves from a garden in Portland

    Directions: Pour into a hot mug, whisper French alluringly

    After imbibing those two surprisingly refreshing band cocktails, I was ready to see how Bear in Heaven would reinvent their new LP I Love You, It's Cool. When I caught the trio back in 2010 their sound was gigantic and echoing, but at this show Bear in Heaven drummer Joe Stickney tightened up the beats and got the crowd dancing. I Love You... highlights like "Idle Heart" and Sinful Nature" got the Music Hall pulsating with Adam Wills thick bass and Philpot's soaring voice, while the great "You Do You" saw the crowd explode into applause in the first few seconds.

    The highlight of the night was also a good example of the new direction Bear in Heaven is moving towards. In 2010, the crowd was into the music, but in a "cross your arms and nod emphatically" kind of way. In 2012, "Reflection of You" had everyone shaking their respective cabooses. After Philpot's psychedelic breakdown, singing, "Dance with me... Dance with me" a few especially enthusiastic booty shakers spontaneously got up on stage and took Philpot up on his word.

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