TIGHT UNIT: Boy & Bear at Newcastle Panthers. Picture: Max Mason-HubersBOY & BEAR
THE club was bursting at the seams with Boy & Bear fans. There were young children in miniature rock T-shirts clutching parents, loved-up teens holding hands and adults who seem to span every walk of life packed tightly into the large auditorium.
There was even a smattering of old-timers throughout the crowd, likely the original indie rock fans from the early 1980s.
The Sydney five-piece’s second studio album, Harlequin Dreams, was recorded in Sydney and reached number 1 on the ARIA albums chart in its debut week.
And for good reason.
The band strikes you as talented musicians first and famous second, with their obvious musical skill and glowing passion for their smooth, folk-inspired rock sounds.
Band members David Hosking, Tim Hart, Killian Gavin, Jonathan Hart and relatively new addition David Symes each appeared on stage bathed in an orange glow, while Electric Light Orchestra’s Evil Woman played in the background.
They launched headfirst into the set with a lively spirit and vibrancy.
The crowd joined in on the harmonies of Rabbit Song, crooning along with the impressed band.
‘‘Can I just say, I had no idea so many people liked us!’’ said singer Dave Hosking between songs, which was met with screams of approval and applause.
The set slowed as title track Harlequin Dreams begun, with Hosking bathed in purple howling beautifully to the heavy bass line. The number was a welcome contrast in tempo from their earlier upbeat songs.
Lead single from the second album, Southern Sun, reinvigorated the crowded room once again with the catchy electric guitar riff in the chorus.
Three songs from the end of the set, the band announced to a slightly crestfallen crowd that they did not perform encores.
Fans who hoped to hear arguably the band’s best-known song, a cover of Crowded House’s Fall At Your Feet, were disappointed.
As the crowds poured out the doors there was more than one bewildered fan wondering why the rendition, which came in at number 5 on 2011’s Hottest 100, wasn’t on their set list.