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After a lengthy break between warm-up acts Michael Cassidy and Into the Ark, who played suitably pitched sets, Eliza and the Bear, composed of childhood friends James Kellegher, Callie Noakes, Martin Dukelow, Chris Brand and Paul Kevin Jackson, erupted onto stage and began the lengthy but anticipative intro to ‘Lion’s Heart.’ This was incredibly well received by the audience that packed out the intimate venue of The Duchess, York. The low, dark ceilings of The Duchess suited the set perfectly, creating an intense atmosphere throughout. The vocals were impeccable, especially so in ‘Lion’s heart’. The band really captured the warmth of the song which exuded across the audience; it was clear to see that they truly love what they do.

The jovial atmosphere continued with ‘Light it Up’ and ‘Upon the North.’ Until this point there had been no word from lead vocalist James Kellegher. Although unconventional, the lack of spoken introduction worked. The audience were captivated from the outset. Eliza and the Bea let their music communicate with audience. And communicate it did. Each and every face moved with the rise and fall of the songs. The audience was composed mainly of those in their late teens and early twenties. However, there were a variety of ages- unsurprising given the highly accessible nature of Eliza and the Bear’s music.

The set finished on another high with the acclaimed ‘Friends’ followed by the newly released ‘It gets cold.’ After the amount of air-play both tracks have received, the response from the crowd was to be expected. The anthem-like nature of the songs created a perfect end to the evening and a moment of humour gave a glimpse into the personality of the band. They mocked the predictability and pretention surrounding encores and then, with their dry sense of humour, proceeded to do just that.

Moments of the sort encapsulate the light-hearted nature of the band. Their dedication and energy to the music industry is second to none. The gig was tailored to their audience, from song choice to moments of humour. Yet, what is so refreshing to see is that the music was at the heart of their show. Special effects and decorations were minimal to non-existent and the set was gimmick free. Tickets for Eliza and the Bear’s next tour will surely be in high demand.

Words by Rachel Moore

Check out ‘Light it Up’ by Eliza and the Bear HERE!

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