Concert Review: Bear’s Den at Turf Club in St. Paul, MN. – March 27, 2014

  • Turf Club, St. Paul, MN.
  • March 27, 2014
  • Published by Joe Stadele on March 28, 2014.

When Bear’s Den wrapped up their Thursday night performance at the Turf Club in St. Paul, two things were very apparent:

  1. This was the first (and possibly last time) Bear’s Den play the Turf Club.
  2. Bear’s Den are building their enthusiastic audience one show at a time.

Speaking with individuals in attendance, stories of, “I saw them open for Mumford And Sons in (select city) and they were so good,” was heard repeatedly throughout the evening. After 35 hours of travel in two days, on the road from Vancouver no less, the crowd’s Bear's Den-63enthusiasm felt like a blessing for the men of Bear’s Den.

Anchored in tight harmonies and meticulously crafted hooks, the men kept good pacing throughout their short catalog of sad songs.  Andrew Davies (vocals/guitar) joked about the quantity of sad song for being such a happy band.  “I can’t tell you how thankful we are to be here to depress you all,” Davies quipped with a laugh leading into the crowd pleasing Bear's Den-14“Agape.”  Bear’s Den adjusted the tempo with guitarist Joey Haynes switching between his axe and a banjo, while drummer Key Jones assisted simultaneously playing drums and guitar.  Shifting from slow brewing (“Mother”/“Pompeii”) to atmospheric (“Sahara Pt. I & II”) to upbeat sing-a-longs (“Writing On The Wall”/“Don’t Let The Sun Steal You Away”/“Agape”), the band was able to keep to the show moving and the crowd roused. Jumping over “Sophia” on the setlist, Bear’s Den gave a preview of the future with a finger-picked and banjo driven new song, “I Won’t Be Coming Home, Tonight.”

Returning to the stage after a short encore, the guys took a swig of Stella Artois, grabbed Bear's Den-109their acoustic guitars and head out into the crowd.  “If it’s okay with everyone, I wanna try a song with no microphones or anything….and uh, I’m going to come out into the audience if you don’t mind,” said Davies. Huddled by a near silent crowd, Davies led his friends through an unplugged and slow-building “Bad Blood.”  With the audience reveling in the moment, the guys capped the show off with a crowd pleasing cover of Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home” (reminiscent of Lissie’s cover).

It is my suspicion the next time Bear’s Den return to Minneapolis/St. Paul, they’ll be playing to a sold out crowd at First Avenue. You have two more chances to see them this weekend as the band rounds out their US tour with stops in Madison, WI and Chicago, IL.

Bear's Den-116The new EP, Without/Within is available now (Bear’s Den, iTunes, Amazon).

Setlist:
The Waters
Mother
Don’t Let the Sun Steal You Away
Pompeii
Isaac
I Won’t Be Coming Home (new song)
Agape
Writing On The Wall
Sahara Part I & II
Hard Life

Encore:
Bad Blood (unplugged in crowd)
Hold On, We’re Going Home (Drake cover)

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