- Billy Fitzjohn
Eliza And The Bear: Live @ Heartbrakers, Southampton
Considering it was the second night of their brand new UK tour, promoting their upcoming second album 'Group Therapy', you’d expect some teething problems, but this was not the case for Eliza and the Bear, who smashed their set in front of a sold out crowd at Heartbreakers in Southampton. Warming up the crowd were two ranging sets, one from London based How’s Harry whose energy on stage were a pleasure to watch, and one from Brighton based Island Club who clearly have a big future in the industry.
EATB started out their performance with a high intensity showing of one of their new singles, 'Higher' which got the crowd going early on in the dangerously warm venue. The talent of the four-piece was consistently shown between songs in the set as guitarist Martin Dukelow and bassist Chris Brand threw popular riffs back and forth to the amusement and excitement of the crowd. This clearly shows how much these boys just love being back playing music and the fans are just as excited as they sing along to some of the hits such as 'Where have you been', 'Light it up' and 'It gets cold'.
Moving on through the set, they began slow it down in the middle as instructed by lead singer James Kellegher by playing some of their latest singles such as 'Winter in New York' and 'First Aid' from the upcoming record which is due to be released on October 5th. The enjoyment of playing these songs was clear for all to see as the band bounced around the crazily small stage which was bursting to the seams as the group partied through the night. The biggest surprise of the night is the acoustic performance of 'Cruel' which James admitted wasn’t on the set list but insisted on playing due to a small group of fans breaking into song during a brief drinks break. This level of intimacy between bands and audience is what most crave, and it not only created a uniquely engaging dynamic but also showed how much the band value their fans.
Towards the end of their hour long set they managed to squeeze in a cover of Earth, Wind and Fire’s popular song 'September’ which was a particular fan favourite as they belted out the words. Finally the band began to draw the set to a close, but before their curtain closer 'Friends' James once again speaks to the crowd and informs them comically that they don’t believe in encores and they’ll just play the tunes and leave. Despite this the crowd were still left wanting more and we too could have stayed for another hour. Eliza and the Bear show signs of everything that is good about the music industry: genuine music written by a band that loves what they’re doing. The result of this is a show that is ultimately a bargain for any music fan.
Catch tickets for the rest of their tour here.