You can always tell when a band has made it when the bogans in the crowd outnumber the hipsters, and for Boy & Bear’s sold-out show at The Forum that was definitely the case. The band were solid, the Jim Beam was flowing and the venue, as always, was lovely.
If the Stonefield theory is to be believed, Jungle Giants will be massive. With an average age of 17.5 and a track on high Triple J rotation, their jangly indie pop won over most of the crowd. Bass player Andrew Dooris contributed to about 90% of their stage presence, while guitarist Cesira Aitken stood motionless on the other side of the stage. It was a strange sight that dampened the excited of watching a female guitarist but given the size of the venue, nerves could certainly be a factor. Mr Polite went off and was a fitting end to a solid set.
Boy & Bear walked on stage to ominous music and for the first time, a background which was one of the more interesting aspects of the show.
The thing is, Boy & Bear make pleasant music. It sounds good in supermarkets or on national youth broadcasters but when watching them live it becomes clear how much their music all sounds the same. There’s no conviction or passion, or anything that you would hope to see from a band who play vaguely folky music.
That said, Their sound translates well to stage and they are growing as live performers. Rabbit Song kicked things off with a decent amount of reverb on the vocals and Lordy May got a few members of the crowd excited. The middle of set slumped as they only have a limited amount of material and their new song Three Headed Woman was nothing to write home about. And Dave Hosking apologised for swearing in it. How scandalous.
Fall At Your Feet was the highlight of the set, both in terms of it being a classic song and crowd involvement. The inclusions of Neil Young’s Heart of Gold in the middle added a nice touch.
The latter part of the set was more inspiring with a string of their most popular songs. Feeding Line, and the double whammy of Mexican Mavis and Golden Jubilee was a satisfying end to a solid, but largely uninteresting set.