Concert Review: Boy & Bear and Reuben And The Dark @ Queen Elizabeth Theatre – Toronto

The chills of fall had descended upon Toronto past Saturday. Fortunately, the TO denizens could seek respite in the cozy harmonies from down under courtesy of Boy & Bear.

The openers Reuben and the Dark had no problem holding their own, rewarding the early attendees with expansive melodies and ambient folk. Fronted by Reuben Bullock, a bearded man with model-esque features, the Calgary-based five piece wowed with an acutely balanced live sound, with ‘woahs woahs’ filled choruses that nestled all the corners of the theatre. Songs like ‘Rolling Stone’ and ‘Bow & Arrow’ were set highlights as the supporting cast of harmonies were exquisite. Odds are most in the crowd were humming the choruses after the set, while making their way to pick up the Arts & Crafts stellar debut Funeral Sky.

Despite playing their biggest Toronto show, Boy & Bear masterly maintained the same intimacy of playing to a crowd of far less numbered souls, akin to their earlier visits. There was a ‘playing in your living room’ vibe, as the lads from Sydney endearingly responded to crowd heckles and the usual ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie’ chants. The love for Dave Hosking and company furthered on, as the five piece snuck in Neil Young’s ‘Heart of Gold’ during a Crowded House cover. There were even playful mentions of favouring Toronto more than Montreal, our French Canadian neighbour. Playing almost the entirety of both released albums, the packed house finally caved into their dancing urges, and were up on their feet during the last few songs. “This is our first time playing seated theatres”, said Hosking, “and this is the first time this has happened”. As the blissful set, just shy of 2 hours, came to a close with ‘Big Man’, you left with mixed emotions, knowing that their return will be on a larger stage.

Boy & Bear’s previous rendezvous with Toronto, also their debut, was in March. Second time around, the change in size of venues is evidence of growing popularity and love for the Sydney five-piece. Given the unequivocal love and adoration enveloping the band last Saturday, Toronto’s show felt more like a homecoming.

Boy & Bear Set List

  1. Bridges
  2. Rabbit Song
  3. Lordy May
  4. Stranger
  5. Old Town Blues
  6. Milk & Sticks
  7. Back Down the Black
  8. A Moment’s Grace
  9. Fall At Your Feet / Heart of Gold 
(Crowded Housecover)
  10. Three Headed Woman
  11. Harlequin Dream
  12. My Only One
  13. Part Time Believer
  14. Arrow Flight
  15. Southern Sun
  16. End of the Line
  17. Feeding Line
  18. Big Man

Click here for our interview with Boy & Bear.

Review by Nilabjo Banerjee ()

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