David Jackson reviews Eliza and the Bear at the Roadmender, Northampton
A weekday gig in Northampton for any band on a UK tour is probably a pretty good acid test of its pulling power.
Yes, a Friday is a bit different to ‘mid-week’, but it’s a testament to the buzz surrounding Eliza and the Bear that they sold out the Underground room of the Roadmender with relative ease.
While the band’s debut album doesn’t arrive until April, they have been picking up fans across the country thanks to sharing stages with the likes of Twin Atlantic and support by BBC 6 Music and Radio X - both of which have championed past tracks as well as having their latest single, It Gets Cold, on heavy rotation.
Eliza and the Bear’s first visit to Northampton started at Sixfields – continuing what appears to be a quest to visit the football grounds of all clubs on their jaunt across the county - before joining up with supports Slowlights and Kloe at the venue.
Musically, Eliza and the Bear are equal parts jaunty, uplifting alternative indie with pop friendly hooks.
They share the same brooding, optimistic qualities of bands like The Lumineers, thankfully without straying into the tweed and banjo territory recently vacated by Mumford & Sons.
The London five piece opened with Lion’s Heart and raced through the majority of their forthcoming debut.
Each song was lapped up by the couple of hundred fans packed into the Underground, with the predominantly female front few rows proving they were well rehearsed and singing along all night.
Highlights of the set included the I’m On Your Side and the moodier, piano heavy Make It On My Own.
Despite featuring no-one called Eliza, nor indeed a bear - five young guys called James, Callie, Martin, Chris and Paul, are riding an a wave of successful folk-tinged indie and if Friday’s gig was anything to judge them by, their debut album is going to continue to propel them to bigger stages across the country.
Eliza and the Bear played:
Light It Up
Upon The North
Where Have You Been?
I’m On Your Side
Make It On My Own
It Gets Cold