Live Review
BEAR IN HEAVEN AT BRUNDENELL SOCIAL CLUB, LEEDS
Bear In Heaven
Brudenell Social Club
Leeds
25/04/10

As New Yorkers, Bear In Heaven prowl onto the stage, a skinny trio of Ron Burgundy moustaches, the pounding drums of ‘Beast In Peace’ pulling the crowd out from its Sunday evening stupor. Singer Jon Philpott massages the synths with almost pornographic delight as he fixes the audience with his penetrating stare. Wallowing in layers of feedback, they cast darker shadows with the melancholy sonic distortions of ‘Deafening Love’. Drummer Joe Stickney writhes around drenched in sweat as they attack it from all sides with an unrelenting barrage of white noise. Restlessly seeking perfection they plague the sound guy with endless little adjustments and when they finally loosen their grip ‘You Do You’ bursts with passion as guitars dart out of fluttering drums. Close you eyes and you could be at an early Smashing Pumpkins concert, with Jon as the perfect Billy Corgan substitute. The brooding swoon of ‘Lovesick Teenagers’ illicits nods of recognition from the crowd, who start reticently shuffling out of the shadows. Cocooned within a swirling mass of sound, the band add in clever little pauses and unexpected flourishes that make them stand out from other synth rock, which makes us think that this is what MGMT should sound like live – understated and stealthily euphoric.

By Kate Parkin

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Originally published in issue 17 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. May 2010