Live: Bears With Guns @ Grace Darling Hotel – 29/08/13

The Grace Darling’s band room is always so warm and inviting, and the whole feel is intimate with its small stage, carpeted floors and candlelight. Thus, it was a perfect venue to host Sydney quintet Bears With Guns, who are currently on tour launching their latest EP Only the quick and the Hungry.When I first listened to the band’s music I was relieved to hear a fresh new take on folk; not what you would expect to hear on the radio, and certainly with a lot more soul. The crowd on the night was small, and mostly sitting on the floor, immediately making the whole experience more comfortable.To open the night, Joe Oppenheimer and his band took the stage and welcomed us with an unexpectedly humorous set. With his eccentric Banhart-esque performance, he almost stole my heart away. I found myself smiling from ear to ear, and wowed by a natural musical talent. Not everyone can make a stage their home, but Oppenheimer was the ultimate in cool, working his way through a set filled with roots and blues, beautiful vocals, and great musicianship.Next was the country/indie troupe Oliver’s Army. Fusing an array of different genres together, the group managed to create quite a powerful force on the tiny little stage they were all squished onto. Despite this, Ryan Oliver’s vocals were endearing, the layering of sound was captivating, and the band managed to change the pace of the set with every song.After two amazing supports, last to make their way on stage were headliners Bears With Guns. With their young fresh faces, they could’ve fooled me into thinking this was their first slew of real shows, but there was an immediate maturity that came through when they began their set. Musically they were on point, every sound was clear and their performance was sharp. There was a great display of unique instrument knowledge with ukuleles and African drums being used throughout. The vocals delivered by singer Robert Saunders, were emotional and powerful, but had the necessary delicate moments. There was also a great display of enthusiasm from the entire band, with some guitar and drum solos thrown in for good measure. Particularly enthralling was drummer Angus Taylor, who seemed to have a never-ending supply of energy, seamlessly switching from one type of drum to the next.Highlights of the night included hearing “Wandering Soldier”, a track off the new EP, and a few oldies in “Berlin” and “Enter Rapture”.After such a great performance, this would have to be one of the best gigs I have recently been to. The boys proved just how much local talent we have. I look forward to seeing Bears With Guns when they come back to us all in the (hopefully) near Radhika Chopra

September 6th 2013
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