Indie-rock band Eliza and the Bear took over Nottingham’s intimate The Bodega on the twentieth date of their tour, bringing happiness with them. No amount of Storm Imogen on a dreary Monday night could put a damper on the energy.
Scottish support act Michael Cassidy opened the evening with his relaxing alternative folk acoustics. Cassidy played tracks from his debut album My Electric Heart including These Hands and the more upbeat Fifteen Years and Battleships.
Returning to Nottingham after playing Rescue Rooms before, Welsh duo Into the Ark consisting of Taylor Jones and Dane Lloyd continued the perfect opening, taking us on a journey into the valleys with their harmonies on point and guitar synchronisation. Their witty stories (crashing their van on the way to Nottingham, driving on the tram tracks and wearing a fake Armani t-shirt) had the audience chuckling and the girls in the crowd swooning in between their soulful ballads. Despite seeming a little nervous at points, they are definitely ones to watch out for in 2016 with a top track being The Right Track (no pun intended).
Eliza and the Bear kicked off their set with ‘Lion’s Heart’ then going into one of their best ‘Light It Up’, setting the bar high from the start. Their energy only grew throughout the night with their head banging and interludes. Their more recent tracks Oxygen and Cruel show an exciting glimpse into their upcoming album.
Clearly having a sense of humour and being humble, the members seemed grateful to be in Nottingham again and interacted with the crowd well. One girl shouted ‘I LIKE YERR HAIRRR’ in a very strong accent, which became a catchphrase throughout the night, being shouted between songs. Dukelow and Noakes’ rock-star-esque hair was definitely a focal point of the evening, especially with all the head banging. Although previously described as ‘pop folk’, there was a range of genres coming through. Their track ‘Talk’ started off with a lovely samba-style beat to it and their overall performance seemed more on the rock and roll side.
Front man James Kellegher exclaimed ‘encores are too pretentious’ so they don’t do them. ‘Now this is where we walk off the stage and pretend that we’re finished so you can cheer until we come back on.’ The crowd shouted ‘F*** yeah!’ mixed with ‘I LIKE YERR HAIRRR’ as Eliza and the Bear sarcastically walked off before coming straight back onto the stage.
The crowd varied from fans who had seen them live eight times to a few who had never heard of them before. Eliza and the Bear brought the intimate gig to life with their eclectic, catchy, feel-good tracks, ending with belting out Friends and It Gets Cold with the crowd singing along like crazy.
With their new album set to be released on April 8th, it won’t be long before we see Eliza and the Bear back in Nottingham and playing much bigger venues.
By Nellie Khossousi