Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Night in Echo Park: Bear in Heaven at The Echo

After a non-traditional L.A.-style Passover seder (led by Episcopalians), we were driven to downtown Echo Park tonight to see Bear in Heaven at The Echo on Sunset. We last saw the Brooklyn-based trio at a free show at South Street Seaport on July 9, 2010 and tonight's show was even better.

We're a bit fartootzt from jet lag even though Arizona and California are currently in the same time zone, so as we did last time, we'll just aggregate some people who know what they're talking about, like Corinne Feinberg at L.A. Music Blog, who said Bear in Heaven's
psychedelic and experimental music style was magnified and perfectly paired with the live show they put on at The Echo. As compact of a black box venue as The Echo is, the band flooded the stage with spontaneous dance moves and rock-rolling rhythm that overflowed onto the audience, along with the sporadic smell of the fog machine.

Bear In Heaven is on tour promoting the April 4th release of their fourth album, I Love You, It’s Cool. Although the majority of their performance focused on tracks from the new album, the band tapped into the nostalgia of seasoned fans by dusting off some shelved songs from previous albums. Whether they were playing recent or retro pieces, Bear In Heaven performed at the same height of enthusiasm throughout the entire set. Even when the drummer, Joe Stickney, missed one of his cues, the band jokingly pointed to him in a poke-fun manner before their second stab at the song.

The group’s passion for the music they write oozes from their bodies as if their instruments were an extension of themselves. You can tell they love what they create and that it’s more of an opportunity to have fun while on stage than work. The way John Philpot would spontaneously break out into what could only be described as unrehearsed dance moves, it was apparent that Bear In Heaven’s music is what genuinely appeals to them. They create a soundscape that reflects the musical world they themselves groove in.

Every member of Bear In Heaven belongs on that stage with instruments in tow; that is their happy place. They barely waited for the applause to grow after finishing their set before returning to the stage to play two more songs. Neither the audience nor the band wanted the show to end, but like all good things, it had to.

Grimy Goods echoed the praise, calling Bear in Heaven's show at the Echo
a stunning set in support of their new album, I Love You, It’s Cool, set for release this April. The dashing trio burst with plenty of psychedelic beats and riffs that kept fans twisting in their skinny jeans. Front man Jon Philpot, enamored the crowd with his bowie-esque vocals as the band kept fans engaged with their sweet textured swirls and sugary layers.

We're glad that Bear in Heaven did older songs too, like our favorite, "Lovesick Teenagers" (courtesy of Hipster73):

The Echo is a cool venue, funky and intimate, with a really nice L.A. feel. We're grateful that this night was different from all other nights

and that we're in town with friends and that we got to see Bear in Heaven again and hear their awesome new songs from I Love You, It's Cool, which Ian Cohen at Pitchfork said was

admirable in large part because its ambitions are every bit as subtle and difficult to quantify as its pleasures-- you don't have to call it "adult indie," but it feels like conflicted indie rock for adults.

We're definitely adults around here.

(Video courtesy of cpscott513)

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