Boy and Bear love life on the road and playing big crowds

Boy and Bear will be stopping in Gladstone on their current tour.
Boy and Bear will be stopping in Gladstone on their current tour. Contributed

"IT'S killing me, I'm done."

This line, straight from recent single Three Headed Woman, is the polar opposite of the feelings the lads from Boy and Bear have about life on the road.

Put simply, they love it.

According to bassist Dave Symes, there is no better feeling for the band then playing to an adoring crowd, who have no choice but to get wrapped up in what is fast becoming known as one of the most rewarding live experiences going around, a Boy and Bear gig.

Packed with warm, fuzzy guitar and subtle drum work, it ensures the listener slides into each song like an old man into a warm bath.

After joining the band in 2012, Symes said the journey so far had been an unbelievable experience.

"It's been awesome, making the record and going on tour last year. My first few gigs were at Falls Festival and they're just a really great bunch of guys," the accomplished producer and collaborator said.

"We've all become really good mates and we all look after each other."

After tasting commercial success in 2011, taking home five ARIAs and snagging an APRA award in 2012, the Sydneysiders could have been forgiven for succumbing to added pressure from hierarchy.

However, Symes said the process for latest album Harlequin Dream had been another organic journey, focused on making something they were proud of.

"There's always a little bit of pressure and you tend to become a bit more aware of the way the industry works, but you try to ignore all of that," said Symes, who has collaborated with the likes of Missy Higgins, Sarah Blasko and The Sleepy Jackson.

"There was a bit of pressure to back it (debut album Moonfire) up with another album, and we wanted it to feel like an album, something that people wanted to listen to.

"It's (Harlequin Dream) quite textured and warm with a lot of space. It's quite lush and smooth over the ear."

Smooth may be an understatement when describing Harlequin Dream.

Southern Sun and the title track have been hits with fans, but it's when one listens to Three Headed Woman that the band really hits their straps on the album.

The slow burning build-up, that never quite evolves into a wild crescendo, but rather keeps the listener captivated, with Dave Hosking's poignant lyrics and on-point guitar hooks, backed by a notably muffled yet subtle drum line, for this writer, it's some of the band's finest work.

Up there with Blood to Gold and Mexican Mavis, from their first-ever EP, With Emperor Antarctica and Feeding Line, Big Man and Part-Time Believer off their debut album Moonfire.

After conquering the mountain that was producing their second album, Boy and Bear now turn their attention to their other passion - touring.

They first got a taste for US festival life in 2011, when they had the privilege of playing Lollapalooza.

They have been granted the honour of playing the renowned SXSW Festival in Austin as part of their upcoming 32-date European and North American tour, which kicked off this week.

Symes said the guys had been pretty relaxed prior to jetting out for the tour, keeping active and staying healthy ahead of what could turn out to be a gruelling tour.

He said their focus wouldn't drop upon their return home, which heralds the start of 30-date regional Australian tour, which touches down in Gladstone on April 23 at the Harvey Rd Tavern.

"It's important to do that (regional touring) and you've got to want to do it," he said.

"It's as important to us as doing a gig in New York. Every gig is as important as the other."

Symes hints at new releases in the not-too-distant future.

"We've been working on new ideas over summer, so we've got some stuff in the bank," he said.

For Gladstoneites lucky enough to be free on April 23, do yourself a favour and get hold of a ticket to Harvey Rd and catch the five Aussie guys who are starting to make some serious waves in the folk-rock scene.

One thing's for sure, the guys will be putting on an emphatic gig which fans new and old alike would be mad to let slip by.


  • WHO: Boy and Bear, Sydney five-piece folk-rock band
  • WHAT: Harlequin Dream regional Australian tour
  • WHERE: Harvey Rd Tavern
  • WHEN: Wednesday, April 23
  • TICKETS: Visit www. ticketmaster.com.au or phone 136 100
  • SOUNDS LIKE: Hints of Fleet Foxes, The Panics, for fans of quality folk-rock

Topics:  boy and bear concert entertainment gladstone entertainment live music

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